Coppola to produce adaptation of classic road novel

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The Independent Culture

On the Road, the defining text of the Beat generation, is to be turned into a film by Francis Ford Coppola, the legendary director and producer of The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

Coppola, who has had some of his most extraordinary film successes with adaptations from novels, bought the rights to Jack Kerouac's influential book years ago.

But he has only just resolved years of wrangling over who should direct the Kerouac classic. Joel Schumacher, who made the Batman films, has now agreed to direct the project. Brad Pitt will play the lead role.

On The Road is the semi-autobiographical chronicle of Kerouac's travels through the United States and Mexico. He travelled with a drifter, Neal Cassady, in the immediate post-war years.

Brad Pitt is to play Dean Moriarty, the character based on Cassady, according to Hollywood sources quoted in the American press. Billy Crudup, who recently starred in the Cameron Crowe movie Almost Famous, is expected to take the part of Sal Paradise, based on Kerouac.

Francis Ford Coppola has previously turned Mario Puzo's books into his Godfather series of films and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness novel into Apocalypse Now.

He confirmed that the Kerouac project was going ahead in an interview on American television. Russell Banks, who has written books including Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, both of which were made into films, will write the screenplay.

The new movie comes at a time of renewed interest in the 1950s Beat generation, which also included Allan Ginsberg and William Burroughs.