On the surface there is something a little odd about a movie like On the Road getting character posters. The whole marketing strategy has usually been reserved for action movies, particularly superhero flicks like Joss Whedon's Avengers, in order to not only showcase the big name stars individually but trickle out all the promotional content in order to keep everyone talking about your movie.
And since Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's seminal novel has its own superstars and could certainly use a steady stream of buzz (which began just the other day when the first trailer was released) the strategy certainly makes sense. In fact, the use of the character posters for films based on literary classics is especially fitting because these are fully fleshed and widely embraced characters opposed to the often poorly drawn and superficial excuses for those you often find fighting equally two-dimensional villains.
Take a look at the first of what we can only assume will be many individual posters for One the Road (found on the film's Facebook page).
The poster features Viggo Mortensen in character as Old Bull Lee. I love the use of the flashbulb-white background behind the blue title, which for some reason makes me think of the use of pink in Drive for no other reason than it's bold and adds a neat contrast to the image. It's said that Lee was based on Kerouac's friend and mentor, fellow Beat writer William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch). This passage from the book sums Lee up nicely,
It would take me all night to tell about Old Bull Lee; let's just say now, he was a teacher, and it may be said that he had every right to teach because he spent all his time learning; and the things he learned were what he considered to be and called "the facts of life."
And the tag that accompanies the great grainy and sepia toned image of Mortensen is also from the novel with the full line being, "The best teacher is experience and not through someone's distorted point of view." Could you think of a better or more experienced teacher than Viggo? Place your bets on who gets the next poster; my money's on Kirsten Dunst. On the Road is based on Kerouac's classic stream of consciousness novel of the same name (read the version that is literally one unbroken paragraph) and adapted for the screen by Jose Rivera for director Walter Salles. It stars Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen.