And that’s just a-okay with us! Director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Drugstore Cowboy, Elephant) has signed on to direct the big screen adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s seminal new-journalism tome The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
Wolfe’s story followed author Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranskters as they rambled in an old bus named “Further” from California to New York. The gang attended Grateful Dead shows and turned on a generation of kids to LSD.
Van Sant seems like an interesting choice, as his visual style doesn’t exactly bring to mind the psychedelic day-glow vibe of that era. His camera always seems still and muted, the exact opposite of what you’d like to see out of this movie. But curiously enough, he was good friends with Ken Kesey and cast Kesey in his movie Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Combine that with his dedicating Good Will Hunting to the deceased Allen Ginsburg and William S. Burroughs, and dedicating Gerry to Kesey himself and it’s safe to assume he has nothing but love for that generation of authors.
Can’t wait for casting to begin, especially to see who will play Kesey and the aging Neil Cassady (as well as the younger version of him in Walter Salles On The Road adaptation).
Shortly after the Wolfe book was published in 1967, its film rights were purchased by entrepreneur Alfred Roven. Not a film producer, Roven had some meetings over the years with filmmakers but was very protective. When he died, Roven left the rights to his children, Daryn and Alison Roven. FilmColony’s Gladstein was introduced to them by attorney Peter Grossman, and for the first time, the rights were entrusted to a producer.
Van Sant, whose latest film, “Paranoid Park,” was honored at Cannes, signed on quickly. The filmmaker cast Kesey in his 1993 film “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” and dedicated his 2002 film “Gerry” to the author, who died in 2001. Van Sant enlisted Black, with whom he’s collaborating on a biopic of slain San Francisco pol Harvey Milk.
It’s likely Wolfe will not be a major character in the film, which will focus on Kesey and include events that occurred after the road trip.
Glad to hear Tom Wolfe won’t be a character in the movie, even though it could be argued that his writing and voice was one of the major facets of the book. Kesey wrote many awesome novels, but will always be remembered for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Hunter S. Thompson was also apart of the Pranksters, but hopefully they’ll leave him out of this affair since Johnny Depp won’t, in all likelyhood, being playing the good doctor in the production. And after Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas does anyone really want to see anyone other than Johnny Depp lasso the role of the good doctor?
It’ll soon be time to get on the bus. . .