The James Franco film As I Lay Dying, based on the classic William Faulkner novel that we all pretended to read in college, has been given a world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Adapting the stream of consciousness prose of Faulkner into a big screen endeavor has been difficult, Franco admitted to EW, but it was a story that “haunted” the renaissance man.
“As I Lay Dying was a book that my father gave me and I can remember spending a weekend reading late into Friday night and Saturday night, when all of my friends were out partying … It was a difficult book back then. I just tried to understand every line of it. It stayed with me,” Franco said.
The book is comprised of 59 chapters told by 15 different narrators. It relates the story of a Mississippi family’s journey to honor their dead mother’s dying burial wishes. The odyssey is met with trouble every step of the way.
In bringing the book to film, Franco said that he had to change some things up in order to remain faithful.
“You want to capture the tone, but you canʼt work in exactly the same way,” Franco told the magazine as he prepped for the project in 2011. “I don’t believe it’ll feel the same if you divide it as rigidly as the book, like titles that say ‘Cash’ and then you’re with Cash. You can slip into the characters’ heads and give them their inner voice for a while, but it has to be more fluid because movies just work differently than books.”
James Franco, in addition to directing and adapting, will also star, joining a somewhat interesting cast that includes Tim Blake Nelson as Anse, Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down) as Vernon, Ahna O’Reilly as Dewey, Beth Grant as Addie, and Logan Marshall-Green as Jewel.
A look at Franco’s IMDb resume reveals a surprisingly prolific career as director. To date, he has 20 titles to his credit with Interior. Leather Bar., Child of God, and Black Dog, Red Dog planned for 2013 and the biopic Bukowski in 2014.
What do you think about James Franco’s ambition to adapt As I Lay Dying? Must-see or too out there?