Don't look now, but Beat novelist Jack Kerouac's seminal masterpiece 'On the Road' is about to get the tween treatment. The film adaptation draws on a fresh-faced cast, including 'Tron: Legacy' star Garrett Hedlund, newcomer Sam Riley and Bella Swan herself, Kristen Stewart, a teeny-bopper trifecta sure to draw hordes of 'Twilight' fans. The first production still (above) from the hotly anticipated film was recently released and has Kerouac fans around the world talking.
While some have questioned the casting choices, others think director Walter Salles was spot-on in picking Stewart, Hedlund and Riley to play Kerouac's iconic characters. "Well, the irony of it all is that Marylou [Stewart's character] was about 17 in 'On the Road,' and Kristen Stewart kind of looks like what I imagine she looked like," says Dennis McNally, Grateful Dead historian and author of 'Desolation Angel,' the definitive Kerouac biography. "I met Salles, the filmmaker. He was doing a lot of advance research. And while 'On the Road' as a film project always seemed jinxed to me -- ['Godfather' director Francis Ford] Coppola's been trying to make it since the 1970s -- I wish him well."
At first glimpse, it certainly seems a poor fit to cast baby-faced Riley as Kerouac's alter ego and innocent-seeming, blue-eyed Hedlund as Kerouac's stand-in for Neal Cassady, a charismatic speed-gobbling chatterbox. Thankfully, 'On the Road' is also backed by veteran talent such as Viggo Mortensen, Terrence Howard, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi and Elisabeth Moss. And then there's Kirsten Dunst.
McNally is certain the Beat novelist would approve. "Kerouac wanted to see his movie made," he says. "He was hoping for Brando at the time. But I suspect he'd be very pleased."
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