It seems pretty inevitable that comparisons are going to be made between John Krokidas' new Beat Generation biopic Kill Your Darlings and the 2010 Allen Ginsberg biopic Howl, which starred James Franco in the lead and focused primarily upon the obscenity trial that followed the publication of the poem of the same name. Already, however, Kill Your Darlings is getting rave reviews from its festival screenings, particularly because of its lead performances, and may well end up outperforming Howl both critically and commercially.
The ensemble cast includes Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Lucien Carr, Ben Foster (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) as William Burroughs and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as Jack Kerouac. Kill Your Darlings explores the writers' youths, the inception of the revolutionary spirit that would mark their generation of poetry and prose, and a shocking incident that took place at the time.
Based on this new clip from Kill Your Darlings, courtesy of The Playlist, it seems that Krokidas has managed to successfully capture the revolutionary spirit of the beat poets and some of the more colorful imagery that they used in their writing. Ginsberg is shown being given a tour of the prestigious Columbia University when his viewing of some carefully caged first edition books is interrupted by the unruly Carr.
To the sounds of a swing beat, DeHaan reads from Henry Miller's infamously controversial novel "Tropic of Cancer," which was celebrated and vilified by is contemporaries in more or less equal measure. The choice of text is particularly poignant as Miller's book, which was banned from being imported into the United States upon its initial publication, became the subject of a number of obscenity lawsuits just a few years after Ginsberg himself was brought to the stand to defend "Howl" from similar charges.
Carr was himself the subject of legal troubles, which will also feature as one of the events of Kill Your Darlings, when in 1944 he stabbed to death an older man, David Kammerer, who had been pursuing his company for many years. Kammerer is played in the film by Dexter star Michael C. Hall, who is shown opposite Radcliffe in the last of the four new promotional stills for Kill Your Darlings:
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Another talent to watch out for in Kill Your Darlings is Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Jack Kerouac's girlfriend and eventual wife Edie Parker. Olsen's biggest role so far was in the quiet but critically-acclaimed indie thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, but with upcoming roles in not only Kill Your Darlings but also Oldboy, Godzilla and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, don't be surprised if she becomes a household name within the next couple of years.
Kill Your Darlings has a difficult story to tell, but signs are good that this will be a strong feature directorial debut from Krokidas. Watch the clip above and tell us what you're hoping to see from this story of the beat poets and the controversies they were caught up in. If you're interested in finding out more about Radcliffe's take on his character, check out our interview with the young actor where he talks about some of the research he put into playing the role of Ginsberg.
Kill Your Darlings is out in U.S. theaters October 18th, 2013.
Source: The Playlist