Literary adaptations are always tricky beasts when it comes to the world of film. Count this doubly true when it comes to a work as celebrated as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The film – from director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) – focuses on Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), a young writer who winds up traveling the country when Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) and Marylou (Kristen Stewart) enter his life. Along the way, the trio comes across a variety of characters who affect the course of their lives in profound ways.

We’ve already seen some footage from the film, but the brand new trailer offers a closer look at how Salles will adapt Kerouac’s novel to the big screen. The source material is a semi-autobiographical account of Kerouac’s early years traveling cross-country and is set against the backdrop of the Beat Generation of the late 1940s. Judging by the trailer, the film effectively captures the tone and thematic through-line of the novel.

From its raw visual style to its Kerouac-penned narration, On the Road is clearly aimed at satisfying longtime fans of the novel on which it’s based – and attempting to win over casual moviegoers interested in a coming-of-age period piece. It also looks to feature noteworthy performances from Riley and Hedlund, and an against-type turn from Twilights Stewart. As if that wasn’t enough to lure you to theaters, Salles has reined in accomplished Oscar nominees Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen and Terrence Howard to lend a bit more gravitas to the project.

On the Road doesn’t look to be an experience that all moviegoers will be interested in taking, but the charm (of the trailer, at least) is that it isn’t trying to be. The film has a very clear self-awareness about the story it needs to tell, and with the cast and crew involved, there’s a very good chance that it will do so in a way that would make Kerouac proud.

Will you be checking out On the Road, Screen Rant readers? Does that film look to be an accurate depiction of the novel? Let us know below.

On the Road begins a limited theatrical run on December 21, 2012.