The much anticipated trailer for Walter Salles’ On the Road has finally been released.

On the road Jack Kerouac Sam Riley Garrett Hedlund

On the Road is based on the seminal book of the same name by Beat Generation author, Jack Kerouac. However, despite Kerouac’s own claims that the novel only took him three weeks to write, the film version has been in the works for many years, with Francis Ford Coppola originally buying the rights back in 1979.

On the Road is the largely autobiographical tale of an American road trip embarked upon by Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady during 1947, who appear as Salvatore ‘Sal’ Paradise and Dean Moriarty respectively. Inspired by jazz, poetry, drugs, spirituality and friendship, the pair are joined on their adventure by a number of other characters who are also widely recognisable as key figures on the Beat scene

This is not the first time that an attempt has been made to transfer the iconic story of On the Road to the big screen. Kerouac himself was prepared to play Sal Paradise on screen back in 1957, and personally wrote to actor Marlon Brando to ask him to play Dean Moriarty. Unfortunately for him, Brando never replied. Coppola’s first attempt at putting together a cast saw Ethan Hawke playing Sal Paradise and Brad Pitt taking on the role of Dean Moriarty, but the project never took off. In 2001, Coppola tried again, this time with Billy Crudup taking on the role of Paradise and Colin Farrell playing Moriarty, but again, his plans fell through.

The film we will finally get to see, however, is set to star English rising star Sam Riley (Control, Brighton Rock) as Paradise, with Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy, Country Strong) as the legendary Moriarty. The supporting cast perhaps offers some slightly more familiar faces, with Kristen Stewart starring as Marylou, Kirsten Dunst as Camille (aka real-life writer Carolyn Cassady), and Amy Adams as Jane (who was actually Joan Vollmer, the most prominent female of the early Beats).

The casting gets even more complicated with Viggo Mortensen playing Old Bull Lee (the name given to the character of William S. Burroughs), and Tom Sturridge as Carlo Marx (better know as key Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg), with Steve Buscemi and Elisabeth Moss also making an appearance.

On the Road will not be directed by Coppola himself (who is producing), but rather by Paris, je t’aime director, Walter Salles. With the female figures in this adaptation apparently being given a little more prominence than they are in the novel, the film is likely to draw much speculation about Stewart’s post-Twilight film choices – despite the fact that she was reportedly attached to the project before The Twilight Saga hit cinemas. Nevertheless, if the trailer is anything to go by, there might just be something of the Beat spirit captured within this long-awaited film.

Of course, the On the Road film is also likely to face comparisons to another imminent Jack Kerouac autobiographical novel adaptation, with Michael Polish’s film version of Big Sur also currently in post-production. The film will star Jean-Marc Barr as Kerouac himself, as well as Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady.

On the Road is scheduled to reach UK cinemas on 21st September 2012, let us know what you think of the trailer below!

 

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