August 5, 2005

Coppola, Salles ‘On the Road’ with Kerouac novel

By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - After a tortuous trek,
Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" is coming to the big screen
courtesy of Francis Ford Coppola and the Brazilian director of
"The Motorcycle Diaries."

Coppola's American Zoetrope production company has owned
the film rights to the novel since 1979. According to Coppola,
the novel has had many suitors over the years.

"The book is inherently difficult to adapt to the screen,
and we've never quite found the right combination of director
and writer to do it justice until now," said Coppola, who will
serve as an executive producer.

That "right combination" is director Walter Salles and
screenwriter Jose Rivera. They previously collaborated on "The
Motorcycle Diaries," the 2004 film recounting the political
awakening of Latin American guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
Salles just released his English-language debut "Dark Water,"
starring Jennifer Connelly.

"On the Road," published in 1957, played a role in giving
rise to the Beat movement. It is narrated by Kerouac's thinly
veiled alter ego Sal Paradise, who gets inspired to hit the
road and see America. The story follows his ups and downs as he
hitchhikes, hops trains, meets other travelers, struggles for
meals and explores the themes of freedom and longing.

"'On the Road' is a seminal book that gave voice to a whole
generation -- capturing its hunger for experience,
unwillingness to accept imposed truths and dissatisfaction with
the status quo," Salles said. "It is as modern today as it was
four decades ago."

Casting and production is expected to begin in 2006.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter