Jack Huston on playing Jack Kerouac in ‘Kill Your Darlings’

"Kill Your Darlings" - Red Carpet Arrivals: 57th BFI London Film Festival
Jack Huston plays Jack Kerouac in “Kill Your Darlings.”

“Boardwalk Empire” star Jack Huston explores a different part of the 20th century with “Kill Your Darlings,” in which he stars as Jack Kerouac opposite Daniel Radcliffe’s Allen Ginsberg in a drama about the early days of the Beat Generation.

What’s the secret to getting the Beats right?

I think where we were lucky with this was it was before they were the Beats. This is the moment they met, and it’s fun watching something take flight. You realize very quickly the person behind it all was Lucien Carr, and that’s the person who I didn’t know anything about. [That’s the great part] about this story because we’re actually being told about something we didn’t know. I think this film does a really good job of telling a story aside from these characters being who they are. At the moment there is this new sort of flux of Beat movies coming on, and everything of course happens all at once, but this movie stands on its own very well.

Why do you think all of a sudden there are all these Beat Generation projects?

There is a big resurgence. Like Brooklyn, for instance, they were the original hipsters. You feel like now there’s this new wave of Beats, everyone wanting to recreate this moment. That’s why it’s such an important moment for this movie. This is what started it, these are the guys who sort of broke the mold, who were nonconformist, who wanted to find an original voice, and they thought they needed to break away from society, or the structure of society.

It feels like every 20 to 30 years young people feel a burning need to tear down everything that came before them.

Yeah, exactly. The most interesting thing is what are people going to say 30 or 50 years from now? Are they going to look back and say, “God, I wish I was born then. That was the time!” It’s funny to think about. I mean, we’re living in a technological age with these tablets and Skype and all the rest of it. It really is freaky. And I guess on another hand it’s sort of a bittersweet thing because I guess I miss a bit, like looking around and seeing people with a book in their hands or someone writing s— down with a pen or a pencil. That doesn’t happen anymore quite as much.

Now we get everything at our fingertips. We don’t have to go out and find it. If you want a book you can have it in about two seconds if you download it. You used to have to go to library if you wanted to read stuff. Now everything’s much easier, which is good on one end because things happen a lot faster. But on the other side I guess we lose a bit of the connection to literature.


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