Fans who’ve been waiting seemingly forever for the release of On the Road might be made to wait a little longer. The adaptation of Kerouac’s classic novel appears to have run into a little legal trouble.
According to Albert C. Hinkle, “There’s some kind of legal problem – one of Jack’s relatives is challenging Coppola’s rights to the book. I haven’t heard of any set dates for the movie premiere.” Since that Facebook post, he has been updating his fans with the simple message: “Just to let you all know: I don’t really have any information on when OTR will be coming out, or where it will be released. I hear the same things everyone else does; whether that is really going on or not, I don’t know for sure. But the minute I get any solid information, I will share it with you all.” People are taking Hinkle as an inside source, but he claims to know no more than anyone else.
Charles Gillibert, on the other hand, is one of the movie’s producers. On Twitter, he shared some “goodnews”: “sorry we are dealing with some goodnews everything is frozen until we closeit Only thing I can promise is that you will be the1rst informed.” Since then he has updated that he, too, has no solid information and is merely waiting to hear more. He has stated that “we are closing discussions with the futur best partners to defend otr and they have to be involved in decisions with market..” Which sounds as though the lawyers are demanding the everything be temporarily shut down. Then, in a response to a query about movie posters, Gillibert said, “I won’t give you stop date anymore because things change and I want to make sure i give you only good information.” Hmm… “good information”? Gillibert had previously been certain that there would be an official website and trailer before the end of 2011!
So… All that sounds like bad news. It’s not a terribly big surprise, as anyone who knows about the Kerouac Estate fiasco will understand. In 2009, a court found that Gabrielle Kerouac’s will had been forged, and that the transfer of Jack Kerouac’s estate, ultimately to the Sampas family, had therefore been illegal. Since then there has been significant doubt over the legitimacy of the Sampas’s actions, in particular with reference to Paul Blake Jr, who quite possibly should have come to inherit his uncle’s estate. Over the years, the Sampas’s have helped Kerouac posthumously attain success and respect, but they, too, have made a lot of money on his work, and this movie will no doubt have added to their bank accounts. While it would be impossible to go back through years of sales and figure out who was owed what, it would be no surprise if Mr. Blake popped up to question the legality of the sale of the book’s rights to Francis Ford Coppola.
So we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m sure that in the coming months, we’ll learn more. After all, the movie seems to have an official release date in Brazil, Switzerland, and Belgium, (late May and early June) and these are all very close to the time of the Cannes Film Festival…