William Faulkner

As I Lay Dying

If The Great Gatsby didn’t already convince you that perhaps it’s time we all revisited our high school reading lists, now James Franco has gone ahead and adapted a William Faulkner classic for the big screen, one that’s about twenty times more inscrutable than Baz Luhrmann’s all-singing, all-dancing Gatsby spectacle. Don’t remember “As I Lay Dying”? Ha, good luck watching Franco’s As I Lay Dying and figuring out a damn thing about it, if this first trailer is to be believed. Franco directed the film (of course), and he also stars in it alongside a uniformly great cast, including Tim Blake Nelson, Logan Marshall-Green, and Danny McBride. Beyond that, we’re totally at a loss here, as the film’s first trailer is a combination of pretension, unintelligible accents, complicated violence, and even a rape. Faulkner’s novel used no less than fifteen different characters to tell a relatively simple story – a family attempts to honor their dying matriarch’s request to be buried in a nearby town – and it’s hard to imagine that such a powerful novel will translate well to the screen, especially when its first trailer looks so terrible, but hey, now high school teachers can have a movie to put on that might actually interest the teens. (Teens like James Franco, right?) Brush up on your teen literary endeavors and check out the first trailer for As I Lay Dying after the break.

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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.

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James Franco is talking this week about the casting of his upcoming adaptation of the William Faulkner novel As I Lay Dying. Paul Dano appears to be involved, and Franco mentions that he wants Michael Shannon, Joaquin Phoenix, and Richard Jenkins to sign on as well; but who is on officially and who isn’t doesn’t seem to be exactly clear. That would be a pretty solid cast if Franco gets his way, but would it be enough to get audiences to sit through Faulkner?

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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