Salles, Coppola finally hit ‘The Road’

Stewart, Riley to star in adaptation of Kerouac's novel

After numerous false starts, Walter Salles and Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s 1957 cult novel, “On the Road,” is finally on the path to production.

French mini-major MK2 will exec produce the $25 million pic, which has long been a passion project of Brazilian helmer Salles and Coppola, who acquired the rights three decades ago.

Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund (“Tron: Legacy”) will topline, with shooting due to start in August.

Riley will play Kerouac’s alter ego, Salvatore Paradise, Hedlund is Dean Moriarty while Stewart will play his on-and-off wife, Marylou.

Coppola will produce via his San Francisco-based outfit American Zoetrope. Salles’ Rio de Janeiro-based Videofilmes and the U.K.’s Film4 will co-produce.

Salles is re-teaming with the creative team behind his “The Motorcycle Diaries,” including Film Independent’s Rebecca Yeldham, who will produce, scribe Jose Rivera, d.p. Eric Gautier, production designer Carlos Conti and composer Gustavo Santaolalla.

Nathanael Karmitz and Charles Gillibert will produce for MK2, which will also handle distribution and international sales.

In the long haul to “On the Road’s” inception, Salles travelled across the U.S. in Kerouac’s footsteps and gathered enough material for a documentary, “In Search of On the Road,” which is a work in progress.

Salles presented an hour of footage featuring interviews with beat poets and characters from the book at the San Francisco Film Festival in April, where he was feted with the Founder’s Directing Award.

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