James Franco has acquired the screen rights to D.J. Waldie’s memoir Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir. Waldie informed Variety that Franco read it during his time at UCLA and “it stuck in his memory.” Waldie envisions the cinematic version of Holy Land as a documentary, though it is not specified what Franco has in mind.
The actor has demonstrated an interest in the tasks performed behind the camera over the last few years. He has written and directed a slew of shorts, plus a feature-length documentary on a day in the life of Saturday Night Live. Franco recently optioned the similarly non-fiction The Adderall Diaries with intent to write, direct, produce, and perhaps star. I can’t wait to check out his buzzed turn in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours on November 5th, but I’m eager to see what his career outside of acting brings, however it manifests. Hit the jump for a synopsis of Waldie’s Holy Land.
Waldie, public information officer of Lakewood, Calif., as a boy moved with his family to one of that town’s suburbs that was designed and built nearly overnight during the 1950s. In this unusual and compelling memoir organized into a series of short, episodic essays, some of which were previously published in journals, the author describes both a place and the mindset of a decade. Built on a grid, the subdivision of identical houses on similar lots was owned by three businessmen whose Jewish background would have prevented them from living there at that time. Homes were quickly sold to young couples — many of the men were WWII veterans purchasing a house for the first time. The design of a shopping mall within Lakewood that was opened in 1952 included a half-mile civil defense fallout shelter and reflected the fear of Soviet attack that was mirrored by the attitudes of the Roman Catholic nuns who taught Waldie in school. [Amazon]