•• The Huffington Post, James Franco: I saw On the Road at the Toronto Film Festival. I remember auditioning for that movie three or four years ago opposite Josh Hartnett -- needless to say neither of us got the roles based on young Kerouac and Cassady. I played young Ginsberg in Howl soon after that. It has taken a long time for On the Road to come out and over the course of those 50 years the material has changed, because we have changed. When Marlon Brando died, an unanswered letter from Kerouac, written in the '60s, was found in his house. The letter asked Brando to play Dean Moriarty opposite Kerouac as Sal Paradise; I'm pretty sure the idea was to actually drive across the country on the routes that were depicted in the book and film the adventure on 8 mm. This sounds like an amazing idea, and I'm sad that Brando never took him up on it. The other funny part about that story is that I heard Kerouac actually hung around The Actors Studio for a while because he was thinking about dabbling in acting and filmmaking (see also Robert Frank's Pull My Daisy, the narration for which Kerouac wrote and read -- Ginsberg stars); an impulse that shows his need to break from the page after his initial brush with and extreme dislike of literary fame; an impulse that probably pushed Kesey and the Pranksters onto the road after he wrote Cuckoo's Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion (the idea of behavior and film as writing); the same impulse that pushed Kaprow to move from the canvas into performative Happenings.
Anyway, it seems that a movie version of On the Road would always have the challenge of making the material feel as raw as the book felt when it first came out in the late '50s while at the same time capturing the period accurately -- if Brando had followed Kerouac's idea, the locations would still serve and the two could just behave and that would be the film. But in 2012 the film needs to recreate most of the locations and recreate behavior and scenes that are 50 years old while not making it feel like a museum piece. As I watched I kept thanking Walter Salles for making the film. The images were so beautiful; it was like he was fulfilling a duty to the dead Beats. The actors were all great. But I also kept thinking about the documentary I heard Salles made during his years of research -- it did take such a long time -- that consists of his journey through all of the actual locations. Somehow I feel like this, when we get to see it on the DVD extras, will take us all the way onto the road.
I also hear that I've been dating Selena Gomez, Kristen Stewart and Ashley Benson. Hot damn, am I a lucky guy. I wish I had actually gotten closer than the 13th row of the theater in Toronto where Kristen gave her On the Road Q and A, but I didn't; not only did I not talk to her, I didn't even go to the SoHo house where I supposedly asked her out on a date. As for Gomez and Benson, those are Bieber's girls and I wouldn't dare tangle with the Biebs. I heard he wants to kick my ass. Yikes!