As I Lay Dying is a great, great book. One of William Faulkner’s best, if not his best - which is saying something. But it’s also a book I never thought I would see adapted because so much of the magic of the novel lies in the way it’s told - the chapters are told from the point of view of 15 different characters, written stream of conscious style and with drastic differences in style. There’s one chapter that is just ‘My mother is a fish.’ And there’s a chapter told from the point of view of a dead body. As I Lay Dying is a brilliant work of literature, but is there something cinematic there?
James Franco thinks so. He’s written a script for it, wants to direct that script and has Fox Searchlight onboard to make it. Is there anything Franco can’t do? He’s hosting the Oscars, he’s a great comedic actor, he’s a great dramatic actor, he’s handsome, he’s a poet, he’s a painter, he’s pursuing a PhD from Yale and now he’s going to direct. I would say that As I Lay Dying would be next to impossible to adapt properly, but considering that Franco graduated UCLA with a 3.5 GPA after taking a whopping 62 course credits per semester (as opposed to the usual 19) WHILE STILL WORKING, I would say he can do anything.
Also on Franco’s plate: to write and direct an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, which Ridley Scott had been circling for a while. That would be a 2012 project; As I Lay Dying could be what Franco does next.
Does anyone dislike Franco? He’s so amazing. This year alone he’s starring in Your Highness and Caesar: Rise of the Apes. He’s hitting all my buttons. Love this guy.
If you’ve never read As I Lay Dying, buy the book right now and get started!