Pfilmco, Zuckerman Entertainment, and Pendragon Film Ltd.

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"BEAT"

A motion picture based on actual events in the early history of the “beat” literary movement starring Courtney Love, Kiefer Sutherland, Norman Reedus, and Ron Livingston.

Synopsis

New York, 1944. Several college students from Columbia gather at the apartment of Joan Vollmer (Courtney Love) to smoke, drink, and experiment with prescription drugs. Among them: Allen Ginsberg (Ron Livingston); Joan’s friend Sadie (Lisa Sheridan); Sadie’s boyfriend, Jack Kerouac (Daniel Martinez); the older William S. Burroughs (Kiefer Sutherland); and the gay hanger-on-to-the-scene, Dave (Kyle Secor). Also present, having returned with Kerouac from a day waiting for a merchant marine assignment, is Lucien Carr (Norman Reedus). Uncertain when he will ultimately catch a ship, Lucien passes time flirting with Joan and disdaining Dave’s advances. When Dave invites himself along as Lucien and Ginsberg plan a liquor run, Ginsberg gets a phone call and Lucien leaves with just Dave. Lucien returns with blood-stained clothes and confesses to killing Dave in a rage over his homosexual advances and dumping his body in the river. Burroughs counsels Lucien to turn himself in.

Mexico City, 1951. After serving two years for Dave’s murder, Lucien has become a UPI reporter and Ginsberg is a poet, struggling with his meager income and his own homosexuality. Together they drive to Mexico to visit Burroughs and Joan Vollmer, who is now Burroughs’ wife. They arrive to discover Burroughs gone to El Salvador with a hired male companion, Lee (Sam Trammell), and Joan with two children and a penchant for booze and benzedrine. Lucien and Ginsberg propose that Joan show them the sights. She leaves her two children with a neighbor, and the three drive north towards a newly active volcano. After that, they camp by a lake, and Lucien renews his long-suspended flirtation with Joan. Unhappy but unwilling to settle for a quick fling with Lucien, Joan toys with him, even floating down stream and leaving the two men to wonder if she has drowned. Eventually the young and virile Lucien succeeds in the physical seduction of Joan. But he cannot win over her mind. He asks her to bring her two children and return to New York with him. Joan’s life with the predominantly gay Burroughs is one of sexual frustration and barely enough money to survive. But her sense of loyalty compels her to refuse Lucien’s offer. Ginsberg and Lucien leave just before Burroughs returns. Having spent profligately while in El Salvador, Burroughs must sell one of his revolvers for cash. While waiting in the apartment of a go-between for the buyer, Joan and Burroughs stage a shooting exhibition. As she has often done before, Joan places a glass on her head for Burroughs to shoot off. He misses; and Joan is killed.

New York, 1951. Lucien is working at the wire service when word of Joan’s accidental killing reaches him.


CREATIVE PERSONNEL

GARY WALKOW, Writer/Director

DONALD ZUCKERMAN, Producer

ANDREW PFEFFER, Producer

ALAIN SILVER, Producer
















































GARY WALKOW, graduated Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University and attended the master’s program at the University of Southern California. He then worked extensively as an editor in low budget features, trailers, and documentaries. This editing work culminated in the Cine Golden Eagle Award for editing the six part American Diary mini-series hosted by E.G. Marshall.


The transition fo writing and directing began with commercials and music videos for Slash Records and Warner Bros. He then wrote and directed The Trouble with Dick which won the Grand Prize for Best Dramatic Feature at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, which stars Susan Dey, David Clennon and Jack Carter, went on to win other festival awards at Tokyo and Deauville and at the World Science Fiction Convention. Other work as a writer includes at fellowship at the Sundance Institute and screenwriting for such companies as 20th Century-Fox, Island/World, Chesnut Hill Productions, and First Look Pictures. He has adapted writers as diverse as Philip K. Dick, Max Apple, and Fyodor Dostoevsky and is co-aurhor of Night Train, an independent feature currently in post-production. He has also worked as a journalist, is on the Advisory Board of "Screenwriter Quarterly" and recently completed his first novel, Radio Mary.


Work as a director includes numerous network television programs for ABC, FInnegan-Pinchuk, and Universal. His show Hammeroid won a Golden Reel Award and his “Wild About Hammer” segment of the Sledge Hammer series was released on video as one of the best episodes. His most recent feature, Notes from Underground, which stars Henry Czerny and Sheryl Lee, premiered at the Sundance Festival, won the Innovation Award at the Taos Talking Pictures Festival, and is currently in theatrical distribution through Northern Arts.


He is currently developing several features as a writer/director include Recall for 20th Century-Fox and Riding with the King for Francis Coppola’s American Zoetrope and Electronic Arts, which would simultaneously produce an interactive game version and also completing a book on the craft of directing at the millennium for Hyperion Press.


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