Walter Salles planning On The Road documentary

The director has succeeded where many have failed before him and now he’s keen to tell the story of the novel’s long, drawn-out journey to the big screen.

He tells WENN, “There were many attempts to make the film, the first by Kerouac himself, who wrote to Marlon Brando asking him if he would be interested in playing Dean Moriarty.

“When the invitation to pursue this film after the screening of The Motorcycle Diaries at Sundance (Film Festival) came up eight years ago, I asked Roman Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola if I could do a documentary about the search of a possible film based on On the Road and we retraced the routes of the book for several months and we were fortunate to interview every single person that had influenced the characters in the book; they are still alive, as are many of the beat poets that changed the cultural landscape in America. I would like to finish that documentary to thank them.

“I did a one hour edit for the San Francisco Film Festival and now I need to expand that to two hours. It would be for cultural TV or eventually the DVD. Neal Cassady’s son John is in it playing the guitar with Garrett (Hedlund) and meeting him for the first time. Johnny Depp is in it because he’s so knowledgeable about this era and Kerouac and David Byrne, Wim Wenders; all these cool cats who were somehow influenced or who took part in that generation.

“I have more than 100 hours of material to organise so that’s the next step before I can move to something else.”

Salles’ On The Road was released to mixed reviews in Europe in May (12). It hit U.S. theatres in December (12).