Mortensen will play Old Bull Lee, Kerouac's fictionalization of William S. Burroughs, and Adams will play Jane, aka Burroughs' common-law wife Joan Vollmer. The couple's real-life relationship came to a notorious end in 1951 when Burrough's accidentally fatally shot Vollmer in the head.
"On the Road," which executive producer Francis Ford Coppola has been trying to bring to the silver screen since he bought the film rights in 1980, will star Garrett Hedlund ("Tron: Legacy") as Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassidy) and Sam Riley ("Control") as Sal Paradise (Kerouac), as well as Kirsten Dunst and Kristen Stewart.
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The book, which stands as the definitive work of fiction produced by the Beat Generation, follows Moriarty and Paradise on the epic road trips that meandered across the country between 1947 and 1950. Their travels took them from coast to coast and as far south as Mexico.
"On the Road" will be directed by Brazilian Walter Salles, best known stateside for "The Motorcycle Diaries," who would appear to be drawn to vaguely homoerotic road movie -- not that there's anything wrong with that.
The film should hit theaters some time next year.