Nothing – but nothing! – is un-filmable for James Franco. Novel about a necrophiliac psychopath? Modernist tome written primarily in stream-of-consciousness Southern vernacular? He’ll give them all a shot. Franco’s latest attempt at cinematic immortality is The Sound and the Fury, an adaptation of William Faulkner’s brilliant (and difficult) novel that follows the trials and tribulations of the Compson family as they live, love, and destroy themselves from the inside out.
The Sound and the Fury stars Franco himself in the role of Benjy Compson, the mentally-disabled brother who begins the book’s narrative. We will not see him in this first clip coming out of the Venice International Film Festival, however; instead, we’re favored with the performances of Scott Haze, as the younger Jason Compson and Joey King as Miss Quentin. We also get to see how Franco handles his camera, which is intense but just a little shaky for some unknown but probably auteur-based reason.
I will grant that The Sound and the Fury already looks slightly better than As I Lay Dying, Franco’s first attempt at bringing Faulkner to the big screen. What I question and continue to question is how this film will wind up being anything more than an overheated Southern melodrama, which is the basic plot of the novel. Faulkner’s brilliance lies not in the plot but in the way the story is told, and it is a form of storytelling that seems ill-suited for cinema – or, at least, should only be attempted by an experienced director.
Franco has been improving in his cinematic endeavours, however, so we can wait and see how this one pans out. The film will premiere out of competition at Venice, and will later screen at the Toronto International Film Festival as well. There is no US release date as yet.
You can watch the latest clip from The Sound and the Fury below.