Has any actor had a more interesting career arc over the past couple years than James Franco? It kicked off after his June 2008 graduation from UCLA with the dichotomous Pineapple Express/Milk double feature to close out the year. Things took a delightfully odd turn when he guested on a string of General Hopstial episodes from late 2009 to early 2010, which fed into a deranged guest spot on 30 Rock. Franco’s film work this year has run the gamut from the arthouse-bound Howl to broader appearances in Date Night and Eat, Pray, Love. The actor teamed with Danny Boyle between the extremes for 127 Hours, which came out of Toronto and Telluride with Oscar buzz surrounding Franco’s performance. That’s a pretty cool two-and-a-half years, no?
A notable subplot of this 2008-2010 stretch is Franco’s behind-the-scenes work. He has written and directed a slew of shorts, plus a feature-length documentary on a day in the life of Saturday Night Live. Now comes word that Franco has optioned the screen rights for Stephen Elliott’s The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism and Murder with intent to write, direct, produce, and perhaps star. More after the jump.
Variety reports that Franco grabbed the rights for his production company Rabbit Bandini, so the producer’s credit is a done deal. The wording suggests he’s committed to scripting and helming duties as well, but there’s a question mark pinned to whether Franco will appear on screen. Maybe he’ll take the Ben Affleck route: take a backseat for the debut as you find your footing (Gone Baby Gone), then get your Orson Welles on in the follow-up (The Town). Worked for Affleck.
Here’s the synopsis for The Adderall Diaries:
In the spring of 2007, a brilliant computer programmer named Hans Reiser stands accused of murdering his estranged wife, Nina. Despite a mountain of circumstantial evidence against him, he proclaims his innocence. The case takes a twist when Nina’s former lover, and Hans’s former best friend, Sean Sturgeon, confesses to eight unrelated murders that no one has ever heard of.
At the time of Sturgeon’s confession, Stephen Elliot is paralyzed by writer’s block, in the thrall of Adderall dependency, and despondent over the state of his romantic life. But he is fascinated by Sturgeon, whose path he has often crossed in San Francisco’s underground S&M scene. What kind of person, he wonders, confesses to a murder he likely did not commit? One answer is, perhaps, a man like Elliott’s own father. [Amazon]
That sounds like a tough read, one that would tear my sentimental heart to shreds. I don’t know how it will translate to the screen, especially in the transition from non-fiction from a writer/director making his feature debut. But I’m clearly into Franco at the moment, so I’m on board. What about you?