Cannes-Bound Kerouac Adaptation Heads a Small Convoy of Road Movies

Cannes-Bound Kerouac Adaptation Heads a Small Convoy of Road Movies
Driving across mythical America: Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart. and Garrett Hedlund in "On the Road"

Road movies are back in transit. Walter Salles’s adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” which is playing in the Competition section at Cannes, was picked up for US distribution this week, says the Hollywood Reporter. And two new entries in the subgenre have been announced. Since one of them is French and stars Catherine Deneuve as a gallivanting grandmother, however, it would be wrong to suggest that the days of American existential drift, as once represented by “Easy Rider,” “Rain People,” “Two Lane Blacktop,” and “Five Easy Pieces,” are back again.

According to Screen Daily, Deneuve will star in Emmanuelle Bercot’s “Elle s’en va” (Off She Goes) as “sexy sixtysomething” Cathy who heads off across France “after being betrayed by her lover and learning her business is on the verge of bankruptcy on the same day.”As she travels, “she spends time with a grandson she hardly knows and reconnects with her past as the former Miss Brittany through a reunion for former beauty queens.”

Anyone who saw the French love goddess as a motorbike-riding aristocrat in Léos Carax’s “Pola X” will know that none of this is improbable. (I will be reviewing Bercot’s drama “Polisse” next week.)

Nicolas Cage, who formerly hit the road in “Wild at Heart” and “Red Rock West,” has meanwhile signed on, reports Deadline, to play “self-described wolf” Odel, apparently a “ruthless killer determined to retrieve diamonds he stole during a murderous heist.”

His quarry is a small-town Southern beauty queen, Lila Belle Clyde (British minx Juno Temple), who’s in possession of the loot and heads out of New Orleans with not only Odel, but the cops and a news reporter in pursuit. Johnny “Jackass” Knoxville co-stars in the movie, which will be directed by Jesse Bagett (“Breathless”), who co-wrote it with Stefania Moscato. It’s been described as “a road trip action film,” but don’t expect “The Vanishing,” let alone “The Passenger” or “Paris, Texas.”

First up, though, is “On the Road,” starring Sam Riley as Sal Paradiso, Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty, Kristen Stewart as Marylou, Viggo Mortensen (who may or may not channel William S. Burroughs) as Old Bull Lee, and Kirsten Dunst as Camille; Amy Adams, Terrence Howard, Steve Buscemi, Alice Braga, and Tom Sturridge round out the impressive cast. The trailer (below) suggests Salles’s film could be a little overwrought and a little faux literary, but if so it’s a fair representation of Kerouac’s hectic original. It's also a smart marketing ploy to attract Stewart's enormous "Twilight" fan base to a nostalgia-trip they may not know they want to take.