This chapter relates how CBS Cinema Center Films agreed to make Two-Lane Blacktop and Monte Hellman chose cinematographer Gregory Sandor to shoot the film using wide-screen Techniscope. Over the objections of casting director Fred Roos, who brought in dozens of young, trained actors, Hellman chose rock stars for the two lead roles.: James Taylor, then a heroin addict who nevertheless was not using during the shoot, would play the Driver and Dennis Wilson, the Beach Boys’ drummer, a juvenile, drug-taking, erratic young man who had befriended the cult murderer Charles Manson, would play the Mechanic. Hellman’s girlfriend Laurie Bird would play the Girl, and Warren Oates would portray GTO. Hellman and associate producer Gary Kurtztravelled across the country scouting locations that they would use with minimal set dressing, since they had only a $1 million budget and no production designer. Then CBS dropped the film.
Keywords: Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman, James Taylor, Warren Oates, Dennis Wilson