Of Course James Franco Gets to Direct His ‘As I Lay Dying’

Considering the dazzling assortment of projects that multi-hyphenate/total lunatic James Franco gets involved with, tossing around the term “passion project” as it applies to any of them might be a bit moot – after all, the guy seems to be passionate about everything he does (including directing commercials for phones or pulling guest gigs on soap operas). Yet, Franco does seem to have a deep love for his next project – directing an adaptation of William Faulkner‘s “As I Lay Dying” from his own script.

Showbiz411 passes on word that the project will start filming this October in Mississippi. Showbiz411 also first reported the news that Franco had penned a script for the project and was looking to direct it way back in January of 2011. At that time, the rumored cast included Paul Dano, Michael Shannon, Joaquin Phoenix, and Richard Jenkins, all big talents that would contribute to telling a classic story that is memorably told in a number of different voices and from different perspectives. Of course, the months-long delay for the film has meant that most of it has been recast (though Franco himself is still expected to have a small role in the film), and the current slate of talent is not nearly as impressive as the first round.

Franco is reportedly still working on finishing up casting, but for now, the feature will include talents Danny McBride, Tim Blake Nelson, Logan Marshall Green, Ahna O’Reilly, and Jim Parrack. Granted, these are all solid picks (especially Nelson and Green), but when put up against Dano, Shannon, Phoenix, and Jenkins, it’s much harder to get excited for this new incarnation of the project.

Kate is an entertainment and culture writer and editor living in New York City. She is also a contributing writer for,,, Vulture,,, The Dissolve, Screen Crush, New York Daily News, Mental Floss, and amNY. Her previous work can also be found at MSN Movies, Boxoffice Magazine, and She lives her life like a French movie, Steve.

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