James Franco Talks AS I LAY DYING and BLOOD MERIDIAN

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Yesterday, we reported that James Franco was looking to direct adaptations of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.  However, later in the day, Blood Meridian producer Scott Rudin cast doubt on the original report.  Now, EW has spoken to Franco directly on the matter.  Franco confirms the original report by saying that he hopes to direct both films, with As I Lay Dying shooting in the summer and then Blood Meridian going before cameras sometime in 2012.

Hit the jump for what Franco had to say regarding his approach to the difficult narrative structure of As I Lay Dying and how he won over Rudin on Blood Meridian.

Here’s what Franco told EW regarding his approach to As I Lay Dying and its multiple narrators (one of whom is dead):

“You want to capture the tone, but you can’t work in exactly the same way.  I don’t believe it’ll feel the same if you divide it as rigidly as the book, like titles that say ‘Cash’ and then you’re with Cash. You can slip into the characters’ heads and give them their inner voice for a while, but it has to be more fluid because movies just work differently than books. Movies, in some ways because they deal in images, are more concrete. I want to be loyal to the book — my approach is to always be loyal in a lot a ways — but in order to be loyal I will have to change some things for the movie.”

As for Blood Meridian, Franco attempted to get into the running with Ridley Scott (who’s been circling the project for years) by shooting a scene from the novel with the help of Scott Glenn, Luke Perry, Franco’s brother Dave, and Mark Pellegrino (Jacob from Lost).  How’d it go?

“We made that as a way to convince Scott Rudin to give us the rights.  It was like, why should he give it to me when Ridley Scott didn’t make it? So I called him up and said, ‘I’m planning on doing this. You don’t have to give me any money, I can finance this shoot. Would you just wait? Don’t do anything with it until I show this to you.’ And I showed it to him and he loved it.”




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  • Bigfiction

    This is crazy! I’m all for it. I know a lot of people don’t think that Blood Meridian is adaptable. I’d agree that nothing short of a behemoth miniseries could ever capture the exhausting scope and violence, but even without the benefits of serializing it there is still a substantial story to tell and one of the greatest characters in modern fiction at it’s center, the Judge. Blood Meridian is more visual than most other films, and McCarthy gets there with no-bullshit descriptions that are lyrical and cinematic. A film will inherently be unable to capture the poetic build of individual images, but of course what’s great about movies is that each image as it physically exists can build on the one before and after it. Without giving away the ending of story, the final two images (there is no Blood Meridian if they do not exist in the film) need to feel propulsive and out of time if this adaptation is going to be successful. Something substantial is being said, but it’s hard to hear because of the thunder in your chest.

    This is a Director’s movie and a tall order for even the best. An understanding of the story and a strong polished vision is the only thing that is going to give this the lift it deserves. I haven’t read William Monahan’s script, but from what he had to say about it I hope it is still in the mix.

    Franco is talented and does seem intelligent, confident and capable, but he’s also untested and that’s why I would rather have him undertake it then a veteran like Ridley Scott. If Franco is as smart as he seems, I think he knows then that he is playing with fire and has decided to take charge anyway. I hope he’s truly hungry to show us something incredible because starving ambition is needed to bring Blood Meridian to life.

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