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The Origin Story
As co-writer Austin Bunn notes of his friendship with director and fellow writer John Krokidas, "John and I were college roommates. We met freshman year at Yale University, and funnily enough a lot of our first-year experiences ended up in this film -- which after all is basically a story about college." Krokidas went on to the NYU Film Program and a filmmaking career, while Bunn established himself as a fiction and non-fiction writer after grad school at the Iowa Writers Workshop. Their shared fascination with the Beats led to the KILL YOUR DARLINGS collaboration, Krokidas' feature film directorial debut.

Though the volatile relationship between Kammerer and Lucien Carr represents the pivot point around which the story revolves, the pair realized early on that Allen Ginsberg was the center of the film.

"It's really Ginsberg's coming of age," notes Krokidas. "He showed up at Columbia, 17 years old, the dutiful son of his parents -- a failed working class poet and an emotionally ill mother whom he took care of. He came to school thinking maybe he wanted to study labor law, until he met a young man named Lucien Carr who put an idea in his head that he should be a writer, and that they were going to start a cultural revolution called 'The New Vision' which was going to change society. So what really resonated for me, thematically, was this idea of being 18 or 19 years old, leaving the nest for the first time and trying to find your own voice, and feeling that you could do something important with your life, that you could change the world, and really make a difference. And then of course, the end of the story being -- they actually did."

After three or four years of on-and-off work on the script, Bunn and Krokidas found their ideal producer: Christine Vachon (Far From Heaven, Boys Don't Cry, Happiness) one of the definitive producers of American independent film over the past two decades. "We always knew that Christine would be a perfect match for the project," observes Krokidas. "She's had so much great success over the last 15 years in taking pieces that are true-life stories that often have dark themes involving murders -- Boys Don't Cry is maybe the best example -- and with rich cultural backdrops, and then finding the human story within."

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