Francis Ford Coppola bought the rights over 30 years ago. After several attempts to bring it to the screen, he hired Brazilian filmmaker, Walter Salles to direct. As the director of another road trip movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, Salles is seen as the ideal choice.
Star power comes from Kristen Stewart (who plays Bella in the Twilight saga) in a supporting role as Dean Moriarity’s 16-year-old bride. She has also starred in indie movies and was particularly powerful portraying Joan Jett in The Runaways.
No US date has been scheduled yet, but, according to reports, it is likely to premiere at Cannes, followed by a release in the fall.
Penguin has published several editions of the book, including Kerouac’s original manuscript, which the author typed onto a continuous scroll, so he could work faster.
Many libraries own ebook editions of both versions, and downloadable audio editions (those libraries that haven’t already purchased the digital editions are out of luck, since Penguin stopped selling digital editions to libraries last fall).
Penguin made a stir when they published an “amplified edition” of On the Road as an app in June, which became one of Apple’s top-grossing book apps.
For the book’s 50th anniversary in 2008, NYPL, which owns the Kerouac archives, held an exhibit, Included in the display was the original scroll, now in the collection of James Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts. The library published a companion volume to the exhibit, Beatific Soul (not listed on wholesaler sites, but still available through the library shop).