This is not what you think. Actor James Franco, now turned writer-director, plans to adapt two literary heavyweights William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy by bringing As I Lay Dying and Blood Meridian to the screen. Now this presents no easy task for a seasoned filmmaker but for someone like Franco who is just starting out, it is even more of a challenge.
The one which is looking most likely as of now is the adaptation of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Franco is currently locked in talks with the Faulkner estate to acquire the rights for a big screen adaptation, which should hopefully be picked up by Fox Searchlight. As the book is told in a stream of consciousness fashion with numerous narrators, it will be fascinating to see how Franco portrays it on screen.
In regards to the other project, according to The Playlist, he is in the middle of talks with Scott Rudin to both write and direct Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy’s bold tale of scalphunters travelling the Old West. It is notorious for many failed attempts over the past few years, most famously Ridley Scott was linked to the project who said:
I think it’s a really tricky one, and maybe it’s something that should be left as a novel. If you’re going to do Blood Meridian you’ve got to go the whole nine yards into the blood bath, and there’s no answer to the blood bath, that’s part of the story, just the way it is and the way it was. When you start to scalp Mexican wedding parties that’ll draw the line. One scalp of coarse black hair is pretty well either Mexican or Indian, and there was no difference to the scalp hunters in Arizona at that time, who didn’t draw the line
While I am yet to see Franco’s talent as filmmaker, though he got good notices for his short films and has a feature: The Broken Tower coming soon, I think giving this project to a less experienced director is a risky move. Blood Meridian is a hard novel to read through let alone watch a film of. Its violence is unrelenting and bleak, also trying to break it down into a feature film you would lose a lot of the scope and necessary character to make it work. Of course as Kubrick said if its written you can film it. I just think Blood Meridian would make a more effective miniseries with a director like Ridley Scott or the Coen Brothers.
We’ll keep you updated on any further announcements on both of these upcoming projects.