James Franco Lines up Casting for Directorial Debut, AS I LAY DYING; Includes Danny McBride, Tim Blake Nelson, and More

     August 23, 2012


In January 2011, we reported that James Franco was set to make his directorial debut by adapting William Faulkner‘s As I Lay Dying.   He planned to get the movie in front of cameras in the summer, but obviously that didn’t happen (he also wanted to shoot an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy‘s Blood Meridian this year).  Today, Showbiz 411 reports As I Lay Dying has finally gotten back on track with a shoot set up for October in Mississippi.  Franco is also starting to line up roles for the adaptation, which is based on a book that contains twelve different points-of-view.  The cast will include Danny McBride, Tim Blake Nelson, Logan Marshall Green, Ahna O’Reilly, and Jim Parrack.  Franco will have a small role in the picture.

Directing Faulkner is a tall order, which is why no one has gotten an adaptation to the big screen since 1959′s The Sound and the Fury.  Faulkner’s novels are incredibly complex, which is partially the result of writing books with over 200 pages and only seven sentences.  Hit the jump for the synopsis of As I Lay Dying.

Here’s the synopsis for William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying:

One of William Faulkner’s finest novels, As I Lay Dying, originally published in 1930, remains a captivating and stylistically innovative work. The story revolves around a grim yet darkly humorous pilgrimage, as Addie Bundren’s family sets out to fulfill her last wish: to be buried in her native Jefferson, Mississippi, far from the miserable backwater surroundings of her married life. Told through multiple voices, As I Lay Dying vividly brings to life Faulkner’s imaginary South, one of literature’s great invented landscapes, and is replete with the poignant, impoverished, violent, and hypnotically fascinating characters that were his trademark. [Amazon]



  • Steve

    Adapting a classic novel with somewhere around 15 different points of view. Good luck Franco!

  • seb

    how is that his directorial debut if hes directed like 10 movies already?

  • zebco

    Only seven sentences? I understand why no one likes you, Goldberg. You burgle turds.

    • Alan

      I assume he hasn’t read anything by the author, and that the fact Faulkner liked to use long sentences is the only thing he knows about him (aside from the tidbits he obviously perused from Wikipedia). Then again, Goldberg also says he doesn’t read comic books, but that doesn’t stop him from writing editorials criticizing filmmakers from veering away from the source material. Goldberg’s M.O. is that it doesn’t matter if you are ignorant, just as long as you are the right kind of ignorant.

  • bjemmi

    James Franco is one of my favorite actors, and is extremely talented. His acting may be limited to some extent, but I think this could be a breakout directorial role for him to spin off in new directions. pretty excited

  • Kevin B

    Do independent films not count towards your resume? Because if so this is certainly not Franco’s directorial debut

  • Javi

    His previous movies as a director are awful. Not expect nothing good…

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  • Ken H

    Movies he previously directed are called “making a living” I was cast in AILD in a supporting role. This will indeed be his first serious project as director and there is no farce anywhere in this one. I’ll just say after many hours on location with him that you may love the movie or hate it but expect to be surprised.

  • chris

    He did an excellent job directing this movie on set in rural parts of our state. He had the full support of the local communities behind him. The Faulkner Foundation along with folks at Millenium Films were to scout the locations. They absolutely fell in love with old dogtrot house in White Oak (Smith County) Mississippi. You may very well be suprised when you see the movie. It could become a hugh success. Franco also hand picked the local actors and actresses.