James Franco Talks Potential Adaptations Of 'As I Lay Dying' And 'Blood Meridian'

by Simon Dang
January 4, 2011 12:30 AM
4 Comments
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Actor Went To Scott Rudin With Test Sequence Of 'Meridian' Starring Mark Pellegrino, Scott Glenn, Luke Perry & Brother Dave



Another turn in the tale of James Franco's very ambitious directorial hopes. After a story broke yesterday revealing the actor's plans to adapt two classic novels -- William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" for Fox Searchlight and Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian"-- word from producer Scott Rudin (reported to be teaming with Franco on the latter) put a dent in the story by alluding, in an email, to the story being inaccurate.

Franco, though, has now come out to speak about the potential adaptations revealing that he indeed hopes to direct both noting that “they go together [as] I think McCarthy is really influenced by Faulkner" with "As I Lay Dying" aiming to shoot this summer and "Blood Meridian" next year. That said, however, the actor doesn't exactly confirm any involvement just yet, merely affirming his ambitions and plans in adapting them.

The actor-writer-director also adds that he has already test shot the McCarthy novel with a Rudin-approved sequence starring Mark Pellegrino ("Lost") as the iconic villain, Judge, and featuring Scott Glenn, his brother Dave Franco and -- as perhaps some sort of nod to his own cameos on television -- former "90210" star Luke Perry, all in unnamed roles.

“We made that as a way to convince Scott Rudin to give us the rights,” Franco said. “It was like, why should he give it to me when Ridley Scott didn’t make it? So I called him up and said, ‘I’m planning on doing this. You don’t have to give me any money, I can finance this shoot. Would you just wait? Don’t do anything with it until I show this to you.’ And I showed it to him and he loved it.”

His planned adaptation of "As I Lay Dying," meanwhile, has already brought about the obvious question regarding how he'll tackle the novel's multiple POVs -- for which Franco has now promised a litany of changes to accommodate the silver screen and, at the same time, loyalty to Faulkner's novel. “I don’t believe it’ll feel the same if you divide it as rigidly as the book, like titles that say ‘Cash’ and then you’re with Cash. You can slip into the characters’ heads and give them their inner voice for a while, but it has to be more fluid because movies just work differently than books. Movies, in some ways because they deal in images, are more concrete. I want to be loyal to the book — my approach is to always be loyal in a lot of ways — but in order to be loyal I will have to change some things for the movie.”

There's surely much more to come from this developing story. Will talks with the Faulkner estate come through allowing Franco to adapt 'Dying' with Fox Searchlight? Was the test sequence he shot impressive enough for Rudin to hand him the reigns of 'Meridian,' despite his inexperience? At this stage, it seems fairly grandiose for a recent film school graduate with just a handful of projects under his belt, but Franco is like a quadruple threat these days with all his projects, so there may be no stopping him. [EW]

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4 Comments

  • donna | February 21, 2011 12:18 AMReply

    What happened to Todd Field adapting and directing Blood Meridian? Did they just abandon him? A great director, perfect for the adaptation.

  • Alex | January 5, 2011 7:07 AMReply

    Franco should do a 'Ben Affleck' - release one or two solid, commercially well-received films before anyone will consider him remotely appropriate to direct Blood Meridian. Even then I wouldn't have much confidence.

    Alfonso Cuaron would be a great choice if only he would ditch Miss Congeniality: A Space Odyssey.

  • Stephen | January 4, 2011 8:16 AMReply

    Waiting for someone to tell me this is a joke.

  • Jason Donald | January 4, 2011 3:00 AMReply

    I would chew glass to get a look at that test footage for Blood Meridian.

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