I don't remember whether or not Walter Salles' On the Road, an adaptation of the classic Jack Kerouac novel, was stuck in development hell, or was simply announced long before it even began casting. Regardless, the long-gestating (?) project has been completed for a while now, and at last we have our first look at some footage. I have to confess, I've been meaning to read Kerouac's novel for the past few years, but have yet to get around to it, so I can't really comment on whether or not the casting choices seem appropriate. What I can say, however, is that the talented that Walles enlisted gives me a lot of hope. First is Walles himself, who directed the wonderful The Motorcycle Diaries (2004). That too was something of a self-discovery road-trip film, so On the Road should be right up the director's alley.
The cast isn't too shabby either. Garrett Hedlund is an appealing, charismatic actor, and Sam Riley has already proven that he's capable of top flight work (2007's excellent Control). The supporting cast is filled with excellent actors, including Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, and Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss. There's also Kristen Stewart, in what appears to be the third major role. Stewart is certainly capable of delivering a solid performance (Adventureland), but unlike a great deal of the cast, she has yet to develop a consistency to her work. This makes her the film's wild card, which could prove to help the film a lot...or hinder it. On the Road, though slated for 2012, doesn't have a specific release date set for US theaters, so it will likely be a while before we get an answer. Maybe they'll even take long enough so that I can get my act together and actually read the damn book.