Even though his adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying received mixed reviews at Cannes, James Franco is planning to adapt another work from the revered author. According to The L.A. Times, Franco is looking to helm The Sound and the Fury, and will write the script with his As I Lay Dying co-writer Matt Rager. Like Faulkner’s other novels, The Sound and the Fury is a tough adaptation. Narratively, it’s about the decline of the Compson family in the fictional county of Yoknapatawpha in the early 20th century. But what makes it special is the various points of view and writing style. Going inside the head of manchild Benjy is more rewarding than simply showing that character on screen. That being said, I don’t know how Franco plans to approach the material, so perhaps he has a take to match Faulkner’s unique writing.
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The L.A. Times also reports that Franco is in the process of trying to line-up casting for the lead roles. Jon Hamm is the top choice to play the patriarch, Jason Compson III, and Franco is hoping that his younger brother Dave Franco will play the tortured and suicidal Quentin Compson. Franco and Danny McBride are also slated to star in the picture, but their roles are currently unknown. Like with As I Lay Dying, Franco has the ability to round up a talented cast, but it’s the execution that piques my interest. Martin Ritt previously adapted the book in 1959 with Yul Brynner in the lead role.
Franco seems confident he’ll be able to work out some scheduling issues to get Hamm, and that the financing will come together in time for a fall shoot. Last week, Franco dropped out of directing The Garden of Last Days two weeks before production was about to begin because he felt the insurance company was forcing him to use a crew he wasn’t comfortable with. Now, he is presumably free enough to pursue work on The Sound and the Fury while he goes to film Wim Wender’s Everything Will Be Fine this summer in Montreal.