This story came to our inbox along with these exclusive photos. They’re being published today for the first time anywhere at Kerouac.com.
And what a story! After wrapping filming for On The Road in San Francisco in December, 2010 Walter Salles and Garrett Hedlund took to the road for a second time in April of 2011. They spent two weeks along with a crew of five and blasted 4,000 miles across the back roads of the USA. They purposefully avoided the interstate highways not built until the 1950’s, retracing as best they could the original route of two lane roads Jack & Neal drove.
The purpose of this unpublicized trip was for Walter and Garrett to be involved in the “Second Unit” shooting themselves. True to their desire to make On The Road as authentic as they can they wanted to capture the images of the ’49 Hudson roaring across the continent with the sights and sounds of the country in the background. The story of On The Road is also the story of America and the film makers wanted to capture “the physical and human geography at the core of OTR as part of the film.”
Along the way they had quite the adventure, meeting many fans of the book who wanted to have their photos taken with the star of the movie (The ’49 Hudson!) and some with Garrett, too. The Hudson “traveled courageously” throughout this journey which Garrett described as “an unforgettable 4,000 mile adventure.” But the two weeks wasn’t without its complications. In Mississippi the transmission got locked up in ‘Drive’ – “that Hudson just wants to go!” said Walter Salles. And she was tended to by an unforgettable mechanic named Corndog, a 6 foot 5 essential American who got her fixed right up and back on the road.
And then there was the law. Apparently screaming down the highways of America in a ’49 Hudson with a film crew as your back door does tend to attract a little attention. The word is Garrett and the Hudson were pulled over on more than one occasion and invariably the first question after “Do you know how fast you were going?” was “What year is this car?”
No tickets were reported. Even at excess of 100 mph.
Neal would have been proud.