James Franco is one of those actors smart enough to know a good thing when he’s got it – the star’s seen massive returns on his comedies with Seth Rogen, and so there’s no reason to expect that he’ll stop making them, and he’s been met with significant acclaim for playing nastier characters in smaller, darker indie fare, which might explain his recent roles in everything from Spring Breakers to True Story.
Recently, the star is also excelling in an unusual capacity: starring in adaptations of works by the horror great Stephen King. He was uniformly terrific in Hulu’s 11.22.63, a sprawling miniseries adaptation of King’s tome about a time-traveler trying to prevent the JFK assassination, and now he’s lining up another feature gig collaborating with the author: Drunken Fireworks, an adaptation of a short story by King.
Franco will star as a mechanic named Alden who faces off with a retired mob boss in a Fourth of July fireworks competition. Like many of King’s works, this one is set in rural Maine (the author’s homestead), and it takes some very dark turns despite skewing more toward comedy than some of the writer’s other works.
Matt Rager, who’s relatively new to the business but has a history of teaming with Franco on As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and a soon-to-be-released title called In Dubious Battle, will pen the script for the adaptation.
Word has it that Franco, who’s never been short on ambition, is going to be involved on this one well outside of simply starring. He may direct, though nothing has been confirmed on that front yet, and he’ll produce alongside Vince Jolivette under the Rabbit Bandini Productions banner.
King has countless irons in the book-to-film fire at the moment, from The Mist (getting another miniseries take) to The Dark Tower and IT, both being viewed as big studio tentpoles. Drunken Fireworks is an odd, if welcome addition to that lineup, and we can’t wait to see how it develops from here.