When James Franco released Palo Alto: Stories, a collection of short stories about wasted youth in the titular California town, back in 2010, it was met with mild interest but middling reviews. Having read the collection, I can identify with critics who felt that Franco’s grasp of evocative language and description was exciting but his plots lacked all but the most basic of substance. Hopefully, Gia Coppola’s upcoming film adaptation, simply called Palo Alto, will keep the intriguing set-ups but do more with them than Franco did.
The first full trailer for the film hit earlier this week, and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. A few of the characters showcased look familiar, but it’s clear that Coppola (granddaughter of the great Francis Ford Coppola) took some liberties in penning the screenplay.
What’s also clear from the trailer is that Coppola has been paying attention to the table conversations at Thanksgiving. There are some striking and disturbing images in Palo Alto, particularly in the scene where two teen boys shooting down the wrong side of the Freeway 280 (taken from Franco’s story “Jack O'”). I’m really looking forward to seeing what the director can do with the haunting images Franco described in his collection.
Palo Alto‘s cast is also superb. Emma Roberts is a solid actress who has been mired in terrible projects recently, so this dark drama will hopefully give her a chance to deliver a strong, dynamic performance. And of course, no one knows this material quite like Franco, so I’d be shocked if his performance (as the soccer coach who seduces Roberts’ character) is anything less than terrific.
Palo Alto also stars an assortment of up-and-comers like Nat Wolff (primed for the big leagues with his supporting role in this summer’s The Fault in Our Stars and a leading part in his own John Green adaptation), Jack Kilmer (the son of Val Kilmer, who also has a small role), Keegan Allen (Pretty Little Liars), Christian Madsen (Divergent), Olivia Crocicchia (Rescue Me) and Zoe Levin (The Way Way Back).
The film doesn’t have an official release date as of yet, though it received rave reviews when it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. A run on the festival circuit seems likely, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a simultaneous theatrical and VOD release, given the heavy subject matter. However the release goes, Palo Alto will likely hit at some point this fall.
Source: First Showing