James Franco to Direct and Star in Adaptation of 'American Tabloid'

January 22, 2013
Source: MTV

American Tabloid / James Franco

The works of acclaimed writer James Ellroy have been mined for the big screen before in films like L.A. Confidential (which has a prequel currently brewing), The Black Dahlia, and more. Now it looks as if another project is coming down the pike, as James Franco revealed to MTV that he is in talks to direct and star in an adaptation of Ellroy's novel American Tabloid, a period piece that follows the stories of three police officers that all converge during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks had tried to get this project off the ground but to no avail, so we'll see if Franco has better luck.

American Tabloid isn't quite as well known as some of Ellroy's other works, so here's the synopsis:

We are behind, and below, the scenes of JFK's presidential election, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination--in the underworld that connects Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, DC…

Where the CIA, the Mob, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Cuban political exiles, and various loose cannons conspire in a covert anarchy…

Where the right drugs, the right amount of cash, the right murder, buys a moment of a man's loyalty . . .

Where three renegade law-enforcement officers--a former L.A. cop and two FBI agents--are shaping events with the virulence of their greed and hatred, riding full-blast shotgun into history…

Franco has almost become a parody of himself by branching out into so many versatile creative avenues lately, but he's been especially active behind the camera, producing the Sundance documentary kink as well as producing and directing the bizarre missing pieces film Interior. Leather Bar. that fills in the lost footage of William Friedkin's Cruising. It will be cool to see him flex his directing and acting muscles in a stylized period piece based on Ellroy's whip-smart dialogue, and I like the idea of characters from a novel interacting with real life personalities from the early 60s. More power to Franco for being experimental and taking risks as an artist, but I'm glad that he hasn't entirely abandoned the notion of traditional filmmaking.

Find more posts: Development, Movie News



This book is fantastic. However, it would be better served as an HBO series, a la Game of Thrones as it is the first of three BIG stories (Cold Six Thousand, Blood's A Rover.) Here's hoping it doesn't suck!

Graham on Jan 22, 2013


Graham you rock! I just finished the trilogy late last year! Amazing books. And I totally said that idea to my dad the other day! HBO would be more realistic. Ugh James "can't act" Franco is starring and directing....OMFG a trainwreck:(

SkyNet3000 on Jan 23, 2013

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