DID YOU READ

“On The Road” cast and director talk road trips, jazz, and the American dream

Film Review-On the Road

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Jack Kerouac’s groundbreaking 1957 novel On The Road defined a generation when it first hit shelves, and 50 years later the story of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty’s wild journey across postwar America will finally make it to the big screen.

While some have questioned whether Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical account of his travels with Neal Cassady can possibly resonate with modern audiences, the film’s supporters – including executive producer Francis Ford Coppola, who bought the rights to the story in 1979 – have long argued that the themes of music, drugs, sex, and self-discovery that fuel On The Road are as relevant today as they were when the book was first published. For director Walter Salles, the book’s enduring qualities became clear when he embarked on a cross-country road trip of his own prior to filming.

“I tried to immerse myself in the world that these guys had lived in,” Salles told IFC of the years he spent traveling back and forth across the country before and after filming – a series of trips he chronicled in the documentary “Searching for On The Road.”

“We did that for six years intermittently, criss-crossing America,” he said. “We met the characters of the book that are still alive and talked to the poets of that generation who ended up changing the cultural landscape of America.”

Widely regarded as one of the most important novels of the 20th century, On The Road tells of Kerouac’s introduction to Cassady in the late 1940s and the years of near-continuous traveling across North America that followed their initial meeting. While Kerouac’s original draft of the book identified Neal and himself by name – as well as Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and various other literary figures of the time – the characters were renamed in the first published edition of the book. Kerouac became Sal Paradise, Neal became Dean Moriarty, and so on.

For Salles, practical research for “On The Road” continued long after principal filming was completed, with lead Garrett Hedlund (Dean Moriarty / Neal Cassady) joining the director on yet another cross-country road trip just after shooting wrapped. The pair made their way from one coast to the other in the 1949 Hudson used during filming of the movie – the same make and model that carried Sal and Dean on their wild adventure.

“We must have broken down about nine times, but we met some of the best mechanics in the country,” laughed Hedlund. “We drove through a blizzard where I actually had to drive with my head out of the window from Utica to Erie, Pennsylvania, because we didn’t have window-wipers, a gas gauge, or a speedometer. I think we drove without brakes from Cincinnati to Lexington, Kentucky. We broke down in Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Las Vegas, New Mexico… [Laughs] We drove backroads the whole way, trying to retrace the path of Kerouac.”

British actor Sam Riley, who plays Sal Paradise in the film, found that his connection with Kerouac’s novel had as much to do with the music of the time as the highways.

“On one hand, there was a connection because I didn’t know very much about America – like Jack, it was still new to me,” he explained. “But the music, that was one of the things I really threw myself into.”

Riley told IFC he immersed himself in the early jazz that fascinated Kerouac and his companions and provided a soundtrack for many of their adventures. A musician himself, Riley soon found that his phone’s library of ’40s and ’50s jazz tracks became a valuable resource during filming.

“Before some scenes, I’d play something in the car, and that would very much help us feel a part of the place and the time,” he said. “Walter would have me pick something for us, and I really began to enjoy it. In a way, that was one of my roles throughout everything. I was the one with the phone with all the bebop on it.”

And whether he was speeding down a country road with Hedlund or looking to Riley for musical inspiration, Salles insisted that these were more than just helpful, atmosphere-creating experiments – they were absolutely, positively necessary to understand Kerouac’s story and inhabit the characters of the novel.

“We needed to do that in order to be completely faithful to the free-form, jazz-infused narrative that is at the heart of this book,” he explained. “We also needed to do that to fill it with improvisation and moments that are unexpected.”

“We went from New York to the West Coast, criss-crossing America and taking those backroads trying to find unpolluted Walmart territory in order to capture the last American frontiers these guys were trying to find in their own travels,” he added. “And at some point I realized that the question isn’t whether those frontiers still exist today, but whether they even existed in Kerouac’s time. I think that maybe they were witnessing the beginning of the end of the American dream.”

”On The Road” arrives in theaters December 21 and stars Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart. The film is directed by Walter Salles from a screenplay by Jose Rivera.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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