After more than fifty years it looks like a movie version of Jack Kerouac’s signature work On the Road may actually get made and released to the public very soon!
LEGEND, RUMOR AND GOSSIP:
There are almost as many legends and rumors about On the Road the movie as there are about Kerouac’s book and the scroll itself! One legend has it that Marlon Brando originally bought the movie rights with the intention of playing Dean Moriarity himself. The property languished for a couple of decades until 1978 when Brando made Apocolypse Now! with Francis Ford Coppola and Coppola was able to convince Brando to sell the rights and he’d make the movie one day. A contrary story to this currently on Wikipedia is Coppola bought the rights in 1980 from Gus Van Sant, but as Van Sant was only 28 in 1980, and had yet to make his mark in moviemaking, we take this one with a grain of salt. Another story in a newspaper article says Coppola has owned the rights since 1968.
Regardless of what is really true, we do know that Francis Ford Coppola has owned the rights to make the movie for a very long time. And frankly most of us who love the book and Kerouac’s legacy and have been discussing the possibility of a movie for decades took great solace in the fact that the movie was in Coppola's caring hands. He just seemed to be the type of guy who would either make the movie "right" or he wouldn’t make it at all.
Numerous scripts have been written over the years, one by Barry Gifford, one by Russell Banks, one even by Coppola’s son, Roman. None made the cut. The problem seemed to be exactly how you translate the story of On the Road to film.
Then there was the way Francis Coppola wanted to make the film. Rumor had it that Coppola wanted unknown actors, while the studios wanted Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Colin Farrell—or some other bankable name, depending on the decade. Coppola wanted black and white and the studios wanted color. Nobody seemed to know which way it was going to shake out and the movie simply never got made.
And then along came The Motorcycle Diaries. Screenwriter Jose Rivera was nominated for an Academy Award. Brazilian directory Walter Salles won accolades as well. Francis Coppola was impressed and figured he may have found his team. After all, The Motorcycle Diaries is about a couple of young guys running around South America on a ‘39 Norton. On the Road is about a couple of young guys running around North America in a ‘49 Hudson. Hmmm...
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