Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams Take Kerouac ‘On The Road’

by Robin Ruinsky

Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams will play husband and wife in the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” Mortensen will play “Old Bull Lee” and Adams portrays his drug addicted wife Amy.

The fictional “Old Bull Lee” is writer William S. Burroughs and Amy is Joan Vollmer. Burroughs’ wife, Vollmer died at age 28 from a gunshot to the head when Burroughs supposedly tried to shoot a water pitcher off her head.

Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) is working with a cast that includes Kristen Stewart, Kirstin Dunst, Sam Riley and Garret Hedlund. Riley takes on the role of narrator Sam Paradise, Kerouac’s alter ego.

It’s always a huge challenge to adapt a book that has a devoted following. Readers have a picture in their minds and we’ll see if the Salles adaptation will satisfy fans of “On the Road”. From a purely film stand point it can’’t hurt to have an actor of the stature of Viggo Mortensen on board.

The book is autobiographical and follows the cross country road trip Paradise takes with Dean Moriarty. The pair set off to see America. The pair hitchhike their way through their cross country journey meeting a cast of characters along the way. Just some “On The Road” trivia. There are two different versions currently in print. One is the original novel in the form published in 1957. The second is an edition released in 2007 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the book. This version is based on Kerouac’s scroll draft. He taped tracing paper together to form a scroll. This version ditches the fictional names he later created for the novel.

The film is currently in production.