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'On the Road' trailer: dances, typewriters, and guns [video]

March 16, 2012 |  6:30 am

Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" is finally coming to the big screen -- soon, apparently, since we now have the trailer above. Although an American release date hasn't yet been announced, a few international ones have been trickling out; there are rumors that it may have its world premiere at Cannes.

The film is directed by Walter Salles, whose success with "The Motorcycle Diaries" -- another period road film featuring a now-iconic figure -- would seem to make him the perfect guy for the job. He was handed the task by Francis Ford Copolla, who optioned the rights to Kerouac's book back in 1968.

"On the Road" stars Sam Riley as Sal Paradise (the Kerouac-ish character) and Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty (the stand-in for Neal Cassidy). But in the trailer, they may be somewhat outshone by Kristin Stewart, who, in addition to being the biggest box office star of the three, dances with wild abandon.

The trailer hits its pace with that dancing, after it stops telling us what the story is and starts inhabiting it. And for me, it's because that's when we get a real taste of Kerouac's words in voiceover.

I worry that it isn't the story of "On the Road" that makes it so compelling, but the way Kerouac bent language loose, the way his prose broke free. Can that be fully translated to film? Should it have to be?


Jack Kerouac on the app road

Jacket Copy on the Road: The Jack Kerouac house in Orlando

Thanks, Jack Kerouac

-- Carolyn Kellogg