According to The Hollywood Reporter, Walter Salles will direct the feature adaptation of the Jack Kerouac classic On the Road, which is being produced by American Zoetrope. Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries screenwriter Jose Rivera is adapting the book and Rebecca Yeldham, who executive produced "Diaries," will produce.

Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Rock and John H. Williams are executive producing.

The 1957 novel, which played a role in giving rise to the Beat movement, is narrated by Kerouac's thinly veiled alter ego Sal Paradise, who gets inspired to hit the road and see America. The story follows his ups and downs as he hitchhikes, hops trains, meets other travelers, struggles for meals and explores the themes of freedom and longing.

American Zoetrope has owned the film rights to the novel since 1979. According to Coppola, the novel has had many suitors over the years.

"The book is inherently difficult to adapt to the screen, and we've never quite found the right combination of director and writer to do it justice until now," Coppola said.

" On the Road is a seminal book that gave voice to a whole generation -- capturing its hunger for experience, unwillingness to accept imposed truths and dissatisfaction with the status quo," Salles said. "It is as modern today as it was four decades ago."

Salles' boarding also reteams him with Focus Features and Pathe International, two companies that worked together on the director's award-winning "Diaries" and would jointly control the worldwide distribution rights to "Road."

Casting and production is expected to begin in 2006.