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James Franco Maybe Adapting 'As I Lay Dying' & 'Blood Meridian'

by
January 3, 2011
Source: Showbiz 411

James Franco

Though we've heard about a couple projects that actor James Franco was looking to write and direct in the future, a few more have surfaced, and they're quite ambitious. Though they're not the most reliable source, Showbiz411 heard from Franco himself that he's got a commitment from Fox Searchlight for him to direct an adaptation of William Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying. Apparently he's in negotiations with the Faulkner estate to get the project off the ground. Then Franco also revealed he's in the middle of striking a deal with producer Scott Rudin to also helm Blood Meridian, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's acclaimed novel.

With the Faulkner adaptation, Franco says it's actually the project that he's "most attached to" and is hoping to get the project off the ground in the spring. Using multiple points of view and the inner psychological voices of the characters, the story follows the members of the Bundren family must take the body of Addie, mother of the family, to the town where she wanted to be buried. Such a classic novel is quite an undertaking for an actor who hasn't yet widely proven his abilities in the director's chair. Franco has the documentary Saturday Night, a chronicle of the work leading up to one episode of "Saturday Night Live," but that's far different than directing a narrative drama.

As for the adaptation of Blood Meridian, this news comes as an even bigger surprise since name directors like Todd Field (Little Children), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon) and even Ridley Scott had previously been interested in tackling Cormac McCarthy's novel. Largely considered to be an "unfilmmable" novel, the story follows American mercenaries in the 1850's hunting Indians in the Mexican borderland.Though McCarthy himself has said it's definitely possible to adapt his novel, it seems surprising that an unproven director is the one to do it. I'm not saying Franco can't pull it off, but it's definitely quite a bold move.

Franco is certainly taking advantage of every possible opportunity in his career from acting in films, to dabbling in soap operas and now he's trying his hand behind the camera. Keep in mind all the development of several projects for the actor to write, direct and possibly star in is simultaneously happening while Franco attends classes at Yale University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Oh yeah, and if you've forgotten or haven't heard, the actor is also hosting the 83rd Academy Awards with Anne Hathaway where he might also be nominated for Best Actor for his performance in 127 Hours. Seriously, this guy is a machine. Think James Franco has the right stuff to direct these adaptations?

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  • lego
    the above pic reminds me a little of james dean, someone whom i always thought franco resembled in the past. could just be his hair, or that swagger about him. but thats just me. great actor regardless. i mean come on, cutting off your own arm has got to win you an oscar.
  • Kevin
    I like James Franco but he needs to stay far away from Blood Meridian. Also I guess this means Todd Field quit.
  • Cracky
    I agree with Kevin. It's really awesome to see a great actor interested in such a great project-- but I don't think he'd have legs to stand on with THIS movie on his back. Martin Scorsese (sp?) or Michael Haneke should helm this one.
  • harm
    seriously James? Get off the speed. It'll burn you up. 😉
  • Jon A.
    Bold move, indeed. Ehh, I don't know if he's the guy to be behind the camera. Some of me say he can. Some of me say he can't. Regardless, I'm slowly building up respect for him. He just may become one of the greats.
  • Kevin Baughman
    Read As I Lay Dying a couple of months ago. Loved it. However, that will be one tough-ass novel to adapt to the big screen.
  • cre2done
    Read both books and AILD is too hard to film. Too many characters w/ equal spread and an inevitable voice over from the dead mom. Blood Meridian is bleak beyond words and incredibly violent, with touches of mysticism that might come off strange or comical in a movie. John Hillcoat could maybe do it, and he does have experience with Cormac McCarthy material and bleak "westerns." Both of those are really tough material though. Hats off to anyone who tries to knock those out.
  • A5J4DX
    when ever i see james i always remember him from spiderman
  • Rocky
    Was kinda hoping John Hillcoat would do Blood Meridian
  • Danilo
    I think that J.Franco shouldn't film those two books... He had never directed a movie so my opinion is NO. As for directors that could do a job (maybe), these three names sound good to me: 1. Marc Forster (Kite runner, Monsters Ball) 2. Oliver Stone (rememmber JFK and NIXON, now thats what i call good directing !) 3. Aleksey Balabanov (Cargo 200) i think that they could (and should) try to direct Blood Meridian. Can you imagine Oliver Stone in directors chair for Blood Meridian?
  • spenjer1
    I believe that James Franco's Blood Meridian adaptation will be one to rival with the Coen Brothers' There Will Be Blood. As one of the actors under Franco's direction during the test shoot, my experience is MUCH different than the director many of these posts describe. Every single one of the featured actors delivered a truly inspiring performance, each scene knit-picked by James to emphasize the brutality and intense subject matter that brings the book's bleak darkness to life. The campfire scene between Scott Glen and Dave Franco discussing the fate of The Kid was awesome on take one, but not perfect. James Franco's uncanny ability to pull the subtext out of the script and into the lens made the final take turn out to be an award-winning performance that unfolded before my eyes. Many times it is true that when an actor wants to direct a feature, everything turns out dreadfully horrible. However, I have witnessed first hand, on the set, James Franco's directing style that is undeniably in-your-face. I am looking forward to seeing what this actor/director/writer/producer brings to the table in the next few years. Scott Rudin gave his stamp of approval on the Blood Meridian project, so obviously something is being done right.

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