Riley’s role passed muster with the aggressively inked Joy Division aficionados, but his next big role has plenty of baggage too. He’s just returned from six months playing Jack Kerouac alter ego Sal Paradise in a film version of On The Road, which has finally been hauled out of production hell by The Motorcycle Diaries director Walter Salles.
“It was a monster,” he says wearily. “A hard shoot for everybody, but it’s a dream gig as well. It’s been attempted lots of times. Jean-Luc Godard was going to do it with Dennis Hopper in the Sixties, Francis Ford Coppola, who’s the executive producer on this one, was going to do it, Gus Van Sant too. When we got there we had a ‘beatnik boot camp’ to get us all ship-shape on everything jive, learning the lingo, listening to Charlie Parker, watching documentaries and having rehearsals too.”
Is he worried about attempting something so sprawlingly iconic? “There are going to be a lot of haters out there because the book means a lot to people,” he shrugs. “But you can’t make your decisions on what a blogger is going to say. I’ve got to earn my keep and I’d have been an idiot to say, ‘I’d better not do this because some people might not like it.’”source