Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Exclusive: James Franco Planning to Direct Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy Classics


Actor James Franco–headed to an Oscar nomination for “127 Hours” and getting ready to co-host the Academy Awards in February–is planning two big directing efforts.

Franco is in talks to direct William Faulkner‘s literary classic, “As I Lay Dying,” from his own screenplay.

Franco and manager Miles Levy have been in discussion for time with the Faulkner estate. They’ve also got a commitment from Fox Searchlight to bring the project to fruition.

Unlike at least a half dozen other films that have been “announced” for Franco in the last few weeks, the actor tells me this is the one he’s most attached to. He’s hopeful of getting it off the ground next spring.

“As I Lay Dying” isn’t the only writer-director project Franco’s involved in. He tells me he’s also in the process of making a deal with Scott Rudin to write and direct Cormac McCarthy‘s “Blood Meridian” in 2012. Franco and Rudin are also partnered in next fall’s Broadway production of “Sweet Bird of Youth” with Nicole Kidman.

Cormac McCarthy is a little like the modern day Faulkner, although he’s had much more luck in Hollywood. So far his “All the Pretty Horses,” “The Road,” and “No Country for Old Men” have all made it to the big screen.

And yes, this is all while Franco attends classes at Yale University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

He also just completed directing a small, indie film about the famed poet Hart Crane called “The Broken Tower.” But “As I Lay Dying”–which others, including Sean Penn, have wanted to make for a long time–will be his big studio debut.

If all that isn’t enough, Franco is bringing his art project film connected to the ’80s sitcom, “Three’s Company,” to the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontiers section later this month.

He’s also moving talent agencies, following his longtime agent, Kami Putnam-Heist, to CAA. “I’m being loyal to my agent,” Franco says, which is a rare thing in Hollywood.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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