Walter Salles talks about his On the Road adaptation

Although it was stuck in development for three decades (with Francis Ford Coppola owning the rights at one point), the film adaptation of iconic Jack Kerouac novel On the Road is finally inching toward the big screen.

Despite delays, right now seems like the perfect time for the film to get made. Kerouac's novel about two men traveling cross country together is as relevant and popular today as when it was published in 1957.

Brazilian director Walter Salles (Linha de Passe) spoke with CNN about his vision for the film. "I am not really interested in doing a period piece that wouldn't have a correlation with what we are living right now," he told the cable network. "There is a strange modernity to the theme, and maybe On the Road is more contemporary today than it ever was."

Salles is nervous about the project, telling CNN, "It's very difficult. It's like jumping without a parachute." But if anyone is right for the job of adapting a great cult work, it's Salles, who was critically praised for his adaptation of Che Guevara's journal The Motorcycle Diaries. Part of his success was the meticulous research he did before shooting, which he has been doing again with Road. He recently traveled the exact route Kerouac took while writing the book, shooting an agrestic documentary that includes interviews with beat poets and characters from the book along the way.

No casting decisions have been announced, but Salles is aiming to start shooting the film in the Spring and hopes to meet expectations. "This is a collective endeavor, so it is the result of that blending of perceptions that will actually generate a film," Salles told CNN. "Hopefully this interpretation will generate a dialogue with the Kerouac fans."

Related links:
Feature: The Road Giveth, The Road Taketh Away
News: Jack Kerouac manuscript unrolled at Columbia College
Review: The Motorcycle Diaries

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