In this chapter, which details pre-production, the eccentric, socialite producer Michael Laughlin, married to movie star Leslie Caron, hires cerebral hippy director Monte Hellman to make Two-Lane Blacktop, written by television actor/director Will Corry. Hellman has acquired a small cult following for his films for Roger Corman, The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind.Hellman’s friend, actor Martin Landau, recalls Hellman had run a theater in Los Angeles, where he directed a production of Waiting for Godot. Cult author Rudy Wurlitzer writes a jazzy, existentialist script about two young hot rodders adrift in the world who race a fancy guy across country west to east. Wurlitzer models the character of the Girl on Hellman’s girlfriend, Laurie Bird. The chapter includes a history of hot rodding, and a history of road movies, and details how Two-Lane largely ignores road-movie conventions.
Keywords: Leslie Caron, Monte Hellman, Martin Landau, Road movies, Two-Lane Blacktop