James Franco's Hart Crane Biopic 'The Broken Tower' Picked Up By Focus Features, Heading To TIFF

by Simon Dang
August 8, 2011 1:37 AM
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With his latest starring vehicle "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" earning unexpected critical acclaim and box office gold, James Franco doesn't look like stopping any time soon. With his in-the-can directorial effort "Sal" confirmed for the Venice Film Festival, the actor-director's biopic on poet Hart Crane is now set to appear soon after at the Toronto Film Festival with Focus Features already reportedly acquiring rights to the pic as well.

An adaptation of Paul L Mariani‘s biography, "The Broken Tower," the film actually premiered at the recent L.A. Film Festival to lukewarm reviews; THR's Todd McCarthy, for instance, simply noted that the film "may serve better as his thesis film than as a commercial release." We guess Focus Features sees some commercial potential in it, possibly in it's cast which stars Franco alongside his mother Betsy (who unveiled Focus' acquisition through her twitter), his brother Dave as well as semi-regular collaborator Michael Shannon.

In addition to "Sal" and "The Broken Tower," Franco is also apparently bringing two of his artier efforts, both of whom relate to Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho," to the fall festival season. Both are evidently joining his trip to Toronto with the first being "My Own Private River," described as a film that "focuses on River Phoenix's work in the film [that] will be accompanied by a score from Michael Stipe," and the second film noted as an hour length feature that "Franco shot on 8mm, based on van Sants 'very early' draft" for the aforementioned film.

Franco also has a return to "General Hospital" in the works but what's up feature film wise? Possibly his adaptation of William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" which earlier this year was linked to a plethora of stars including Shannon again, Richard Jenkins, Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Dano (who was actually asked by Franco to take the lead role in his Hart Crane biopic but declined). A summer shoot in 2011 was once mentioned once for the film but things have obviously changed since then. [Showbiz411]

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