In 1957 Jack Kerouac wrote a letter to Marlon Brando (which just sold for over $33,000 at Christies) asking him to buy the rights to On The Road and make a movie out of it, noting that they could both star in it. In his vision, the novel would be reworked to a "perfectly acceptable movie-type structure," compressing all of the separate voyages into one large journey across the country. He began the letter:
I'm praying that you'll buy ON THE ROAD and make a movie of it. Don't worry about the structure, I know to compress and re-arrange the plot a bit to give a perfectly acceptable movie-type structure: making it into one all-inclusive trip instead of the several voyages coast-to-coast in the book, one vast round trip from New York to Denver to Frisco to Mexico to New Orleans to New York again. I visualize the beautiful shots could be made with the camera on the front seat of the car showing the road (day and night) unwinding into the windshield, as Sal and Dean yak. I wanted you to play the part because Dean (as you know) is no dopey hotrodder but a real intelligent (in fact Jesuit) Irishman. You play Dean and I'll play Sal (Warner Bros. mentioned I play Sal) and I'll show you how Dean acts in real life.
Kerouac also told Brando he wanted to establish a trust fund for life, for himself and his mother. He ended with this plea: "Come on now Marlon, put up your dukes and write!" Brando declined, which is a shame, because now all we've got is the upcoming adaptation of the book starring Kirsten Dunst and the girl from Twilight.