The video: "The only people that interest me are the mad ones." After 55 years, Jack Kerouac's iconic words are finally getting the big-screen treatment, with the film version of On the Road set to debut at the Cannes Film Festival and be released later this year. A just-released trailer (watch it below) offers a first look at the flick, which stars Garret Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) as Dean Moriarity, Kristen Stewart (Twilight) as his firecracker 16-year-old wife, and Sam Riley (Control) as the Kerouac stand-in Sal Paradise. The trio embarks on a road trip of self-discovery across post-WWII America, listening to jazz music, drinking, and meeting colorful strangers (played by Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, and Viggo Mortensen) along the way. Widely considered to be the defining novel of the beatnik generation (and "unfilmable," due to Kerouac's uniquely visual storytelling), On the Road has suffered decades of starts and stops on the way to the big screen. Kerouac himself once wrote a letter to Marlon Brando asking him to star in the film, and actors ranging from Brad Pitt to Billy Crudup have been attached at different points. Does the "feverish and sweaty" trailer, which is already garnering buzz for a strategically-placed topless scene from Stewart, look to be worth the wait?
The reaction: It might seem strange to see "the Beat Generation mixing with the Twilight generation," says Anthony Breznican at Entertainment Weekly. But those who write off the film purely based on Stewart's involvement should remember that before she was Bella Swan, Stewart was known for indie turns in Into the Wild, The Runaways, and Adventureland. The trailer hints that director Walter Salles' seems to have accomplished the daunting task of capturing the "free-wheeling spirit of the novel," says Matt Maytum at Total Film. "The open highways drenched in hazy sun demand to be gawped at." True, Salles strikes the appropriate "wandering, melancholy feel," says Chris Eggertsen at HitFix. But I can't shake the sense that this will merely be a "'Hollywood'-style interpretation rather than a truly audacious one." Check it out for yourself: