Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Truth About On The Road

In his latest book, Gerald Nicosia has unlocked the dynamic of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, and not a moment too soon. Nicosia, the author of “Memory Babe,” the definitive Jack Kerouac book, was an advisor to the “On The Road” movie due to be premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival. “On The Road,” published in 1951, was of course, the book that made Kerouac famous. It was inspired by Jack London’s famed book, “The Road,” published in 1907.

Nicosia’s new book is “One And Only: The Untold Story of On The Road.”

Its genesis was on the set of "On The Road," when he was hired to teach the actors what beatnik life was all about.

Nicosia had thirty years previously interviewed Lu Anne Henderson, known as Marylou in "On The Road" for "Memory Babe."

Cassady famously wrote Lu Anne, “We’ll be together, you are my one and only wife.” And through all the wives and husbands and boyfriends and girlfriends, they were each other’s lovers to the end of time.

Kerouac and Cassady had a sometimes homoerotic relationship but Nicosia says it was Lu Anne who brought them together, and encouraged them to love each other in a way that defined the beat movement.

Up until now, most of what people know about Cassady and Kerouac comes from Carolyn Cassady, Cassady’s second wife. Her memoirs shaped the 1980 film “Heart Beat,” starring Nick Nolte as Cassady and Sissy Spacek as Carolyn.

The new film is more from the viewpoint of Lu Anne, Cassady’s first wife. That is because Nicosia as the preeminent Kerouac scholar was hired as an advisor for "On The Road." When he played the tapes for actress Kristen Stewart, both he and the actress had some major revelations.

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