Travel Movie Watch: ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  04.28.09 | 12:08 PM ET

Move over, Fear and Loathing. There’s a new drug-addled, road tripping book-turned-movie in town. A film adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test—which follows Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters cross-country in a school bus named “Further”—is due out in 2010. Production details are still thin on the ground, but the New York Times notes that Gus van Sant will direct, while Dustin Lance Black, who recently won an Oscar for writing van Sant’s “Milk,” will provide the screenplay.

That still leaves one crucial question: who will play Kesey himself? Rolling Stone reports that van Sant had been eyeing Heath Ledger for the role before his death last year. Now, it looks as though Jack Black and Woody Harrelson are the front-runners.

Whenever a cult favorite like this one gets the adaptation treatment, every decision is scrutinized and skepticism runs high. Who do you think should play Ken Kesey? And do you like the look of the project so far? Or, as one commenter on the Rolling Stone article put it, is this a book that should have been left alone? (Via the Book Bench)

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

3 Comments for Travel Movie Watch: ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’

Lori 04.28.09 | 3:44 PM ET

WOW, exciting news! I can’t wait to hear updates on this one.

Eva Holland 04.28.09 | 3:53 PM ET

Glad to hear you’re looking forward to it too, Lori! We’ll definitely keep you posted.

Bob Downes 05.18.09 | 10:41 PM ET

Regarding who should play Ken Kesey: the obvious choice would be Jack Nicholson, circa 1976, who played Kesey’s protagonist so brilliantly in the adaption of his book, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  But Nicholson is far too old to play the part now, as is Elliott Gould, who would have made another fine choice.
  There really aren’t any actors in the current day who come to mind for the role of this big bear of a hippie—Jack Black?  Heath Ledger?  Woody Harrelson?  No way!  Someone in Hollywood needs to actually READ THE BOOK to get a clue…
  Check out my 1970 pilgramage to the Haight-Ashbury in my new book,  ‘Planet Backpacker.’

—Bob Downes—

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