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Salles Is On The Road
Walter tackles the Kerouac classic

05 August 2005  |  Written by   

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Some books are easier to adapt than others. A Michael Crichton novel about a giant genetically engineered chicken, for example, is probably going to be a lot easier than a Thomas Pynchon novel about the nature of being. And that's why Jack Kerouac's On The Road has taken almost fifty years to make it to the screen. All that is about to change, however, as Walter Salles and Jose Rivera bring the Beat masterpiece to the screen.

For those of you who have read it, the book needs no introduction because it probably changed your life / inspired you to take that road trip across Saffron Walden / caused you to wear a black beret for a year. For those who haven't, or who gave up halfway through in despair at the lack of a narrative, the story follows Sal Paradise and his friend Dean Moriarty as they travel across the country, staying with old friends and meeting new ones and hustling to make ends meet. The film is a thinly veiled autobiography, based on Kerouac's own hitchhiking adventures with his friend Neal Cassady.

Francis Ford Coppola bought the screen rights to the novel nearly four decades ago and has been trying to adapt the book ever since, but it seems that he may finally have found a script that he likes. He's finally decided on the Motorcycle Diaries team of director Walter Salles and writer Jose Rivera, while Coppola himself acts as producer.

The links between their Che Guevara epic and Kerouac's novel are clear – both road movies, focused on two young men who learn about life and living on the way. Both are hugely influential, both boast a cult following and both were written by men who symbolised a generation – Guevara's revolutionaries and Kerouac's 'beat' poets.

The film is now in development, so don't expect to see it until late next year at the earliest. Rest assured, however, that we'll keep you up to date between now and then.

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