What’s up with Hollywood’s new found fascination for the work of Jack Kerouac? Hot on the heels of Walter Salles (pleasedon’tsuck, pleasedon’tsuck) adaptation of On the Road, comes word that Michael Polish will be adapting that novel’s spiritual sequel — Big Sur — into a movie as well.
Don’t get too excited, however, it’s not like this is a planned Kerouac trilogy or anything. The cast is all different, but equally as unenthusiastic.
Jean-Marc Barr to play Jack Kerouac, Josh Lucas to play Beat Generation fixture Neal Cassady and Kate Bosworth to play Billie, the woman linked to both. The drama covers Kerouac’s move from New York to Northern California, as he tries to rediscover himself after badly handling the fame, drugs and decadent lifestyle that came with his groundbreaking novel On The Road. Anthony Edwards, Radha Mitchell, Balthazar Getty, Patrick Fischler, Stana Katic, John Robinson and Henry Thomas are also in the Polish-scripted film.
Interestingly enough, this is one of Kerouac’s most depressing novels and the one I’d least like to see adapted into a movie. There’s nothing remotely satisfying about the story of a man slipping into alcoholism, who moves across the country and into a tiny seaside shack, only to end up more fucked up because of the isolation.
For my tastes, I’ve always thought Maggie Cassidy would make the best film out of all the Kerouac novels — that or his first novel The Town and the City, which, incidentally is also the least “Kerouac-ian” of all his books. It’s a much more traditional, coming-of-age family story in the tradition of Thomas Wolfe. If I were going to plan a Kerouac trilogy, well I suppose I would start with On the Road, have The Dharma Bums be part 2, and then have Big Sure be the conclusion.
One more thought: If you are making a movie about Jack Kerouac, isn’t Daniel Craig pretty much the ideal actor to play him?