Starring Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley as protagonists Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise on a journey across the North American landscape in pursuit of self-knowledge and experience, the adaptation quickly came together earlier this year after spending what seemed like an eternity in developmental hell -- a tale well-told in Salles' work-in-progress documentary "In Search of On the Road" -- conjuring a stellar cast including Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Steve Buscemi, Terrence Howard, Alice Braga and Elisabeth Moss.
The project has now been in production since August and, although things have been relatively quiet since a few early set photos, two stills of Hedlund as Moriarty have now been unveiled; both interestingly in black and white. Salles has previously stated in the aforementioned documentary that "any version of "On the Road" done correctly would need to be shot in black and white." Could these shots then also be an early reflection of the film's aesthetic style?
As if we need more reason to be excited, the project also serves as a reunion for Salles with the majority of his behind the camera team from "The Motorcycle Diaries" including writer Jose Rivera, DP. Eric Gautier, production designer Carlos Conti and composer Gustavo Santaolalla. Of the score, two-time Oscar-winning composer Santaolalla ("Brokeback Mountain," "Babel") revealed that "it's a challenge. Because every time you work with a well known book, an iconic book, it's already hard to make on a cinematographic level. But in this case in particular, it's also a musical challenge, because all the beats poets have a very important relation with music, and with a particular music style that's the Bebop, and a period of time that was very important in music. In that time, people like John Cage, Harry Partch, and Harry Parker became known. That's something that makes me very excited and that presents me a challenge and I love that."
One review of Rivera's script excitingly proclaimed that the script "should be the biggest and best reason to look forward to 'On the Road'" and noted that the scribe "splices intermittent pieces of Kerouac’s poetic prose with Sal’s coming-of-age self discovery story, but makes the script his own. A bit about a writer’s self-loathing and the historical context of their wild exploits are on the mark, but perhaps more impressive is his control of the characters’ energy, from rowdy spontaneity to Sal’s gradual disillusionment.
Below are also a couple of set photos of the cast including one of Hedlund, Riley and Sturridge with John Allen Cassady, the real offspiring of Beat Generation icon Neal. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola through his production shingle American Zoetrope in conjunction with VideoFilmes, Film4 and France 2, "On The Road" is currently lensing around the globe and is scheduled to complete sometime in December. Perhaps it will hit the Croisette next year? [via OnTheRoadFilm]