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James Franco To Direct & Star In Serial Killer Tale 'The Night Stalker'

The Playlist By Simon Dang | The Playlist January 17, 2011 at 3:05AM

Also Working On Comic Quasi-Documentary With Dave FrancoAnother week, another few projects lined up for James Franco and his burgeoning career as an actor, writer and director.
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Also Working On Comic Quasi-Documentary With Dave Franco



Another week, another few projects lined up for James Franco and his burgeoning career as an actor, writer and director.

Franco is now being linked to an adaptation of crime writer Philip Carlo's "The Night Stalker," which would see him star in and direct the story of satanic SoCal murderer Richard Ramirez. The project is reportedly being produced by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and Nicolas Constantine, who both optioned the novel last year and had meetings with Ramirez himself who, according to his wife, "spent many hours talking with them and was very impressed with their vision for this film."

"This isn't a horror film, nor does it glorify Ramirez in any way," Constantine revealed. "James Franco shares that vision, and we all agree that he is absolutely the one actor, and now director, who can truly do this very intense role and story justice. I had no idea if he would do it, though, since it's pretty dark subject matter. They told me he was studying to be a director and this was perfect for him. We watched three short films he made, two of which were dark and one of which was about a serial killer. That confirmed James definitely had this dark side, and it definitely sealed the deal for us. Sure enough, James read the material and responded to it immediately."

The subject matter is gruesome, grisly and fascinating. In 1985 Ramirez, who is currently in prison awaiting execution, went on a spree of assault and murder and was eventually convicted on 13 counts of murder, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries. He also dubbed himself the "Night Prowler" after being inspired by the AC/DC song "Night Stalker." Franco as a satanic serial killer? A year ago, we would've though the idea laughable but after "127 Hours" we can definitely see Franco pulling it off. Apparently, a summer start is being eyed by Franco when he is on break from Yale, but given the recent rounds of projects being linked endlessly to the actor we'll wait to see which one makes it past development stages and onto the big screen.

Meanwhile, the busy thesp is working on a comic quasi-documentary that he's developing with his younger sibling Dave Franco ("Greenberg," the upcoming "Fright Night") that will feature the two brothers as fictionalized versions of themselves named Davie and James. Dave tells MTV, "Without giving away too much, it all takes place around Thanksgiving and Christmas break around our hometown of Palo Alto." He adds, "Our real family will be in it, my real friends from home will be in it, and the vibe of it is going to be an extended version of our Funny or Die videos. It's going to be difficult for me, because it's now a 90-minute version of him giving me sh-- and making fun of me."

Sounds like a lot of fun, but also a project that is likely a bit of a ways off. James Franco will next be seen co-hosting the Academy Awards next month with Anne Hathaway, and then will be returning for another stint on "General Hospital" afterwards. Somewhere in all there he will find time to eat, sleep and do homework.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, The Night Stalker, James Franco


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