James Franco, Stephen King’s ‘Drunken Fireworks’: A Strange Choice For An Adaptation?

Deadline was the first to report that James Franco will soon star in yet another Stephen King adaptation: “Drunken Fireworks,” a tale from Stephen King’s short story anthology entitled The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.


Unlike 11.22.63, the TV miniseries based on a Stephen King work that Franco starred in earlier this year, the “Drunken Fireworks” adaptation will come in the form of a feature-length movie, says Variety.

Also unlike 11.22.63, Franco will be doing more than just acting in the film. He has been doing a lot of film direction lately, and “Drunken Fireworks” may be the next project Franco helms. He is also going to co-produce the film along with several reps from Rabbit Bandini and Rubicon, the two studios that are teaming up to make the adaptation happen.

The script for the adapted screenplay will be written by Franco’s pal, Matt Rager. Rager is relatively new to the scriptwriting scene, but he has already shown he can do some solid screenwriting — especially in the field of text adaptations — by penning the scripts for 2013’s As I Lay Dying and 2014’s The Sound and the Fury, both of which are book adaptations starring and directed by James Franco.

“Drunken Fireworks” itself is the story of a small-town local named Alden McCausland, who will be James Franco’ character, and his foul-mouthed mother. They live together on a lake in rural Maine, and they are not happy when a mob boss and his large, wealthy family purchase the property across the lake as their summer home. The two factions develop a tradition where, each Fourth of July evening, they attempt to outdo each other’s fireworks display. The plot revolves around Alden’s extreme, and sometimes even illegal, attempts to put on the bigger show. Check out the audio book, which is 80 minutes long, by clicking here.

The story is a dark comedy, and James Franco’s comic prowess that he showed in film’s such as 2008’s cult classic Pineapple Express, combined with the more somber dramatic flair he demonstrated in 11.22.63, will make Franco perfect for his role as the main protagonist.

One can see why, out of all of Stephen King’s short stories (and there are a lot of them), “Drunken Fireworks” would be particularly appealing to choose for Franco’s screen adaptation. After all, the main spectacle of the story, the increasingly mind-blowing fireworks displays James Franco’s character and his yet-to-be-cast nemeses across the lake put on, are purely visual. If Franco and his production team execute the firework visuals well, they could be absolutely stunning and serve movie-goers as a reminder of what the sight-based media of film is all about.

James Franco Stephen King Drunken Fireworks
King is known for having a rather visceral writing style. [Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images the New Yorker]
“Drunken Fireworks” is somewhat of an interesting choice on Franco’s part for a full-length film, because not all that much happens in Stephen King’s source material except for the year-to-year back and forth between the two families. Hopefully, that means that Matt Rager’s script and James Franco’s (tentative) direction will take King’s story in exciting new directions. Of course, Franco will not deviate from Stephen King’s source material too much, but there are certainly a lot fascinating angles in “Drunken Fireworks” that have the potential to be great movie fodder.

As mentioned earlier, James Franco is still hot from the success of the Stephen King adaptation 11.22.63, which attracted tremendous critical and popular acclaim and just wrapped up this April. Apparently, Franco’s passion for King’s work was not satisfied, though, and the fact he is invested in the author who wrote “Drunken Fireworks” definitely bodes well for the film’s success.

“Drunken Fireworks” is not the only Stephen King story with an upcoming screen adaptation, either. King works It, The Dark Tower, Cell, Mr. Mercedes, and The Mist are all set to come to either theaters or TV screens within the next 18 months.


What other Stephen King Works do you want to see adapted? And who else do you want cast in James Franco’s Drunken Fireworks? Make yourself heard in the comments below!

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