James Franco is set to direct As I Lay Dying for the screen and plans to start shooting this summer. He also wants to direct Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian in 2012.
As much as I love James Franco, who is an author in his own right, I can not begin to imagine a movie of As I Lay Dying. The story has multiple narrators, including a woman speaking from the coffin, and a stream-of-conscious style.
Franco explained his plan for the movie in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
“You want to capture the tone, but you can’t work in exactly the same way,” says Franco. “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..."
The trailer for Howl—an Allen Ginsberg biopic—has just been released, and it looks pretty fascinating. Though the Beat Poets have never spoken to me, precisely, James Franco and John Hamm definitely do. The film will also include "animated reimaginings" of Ginsberg's poem, drawn by graphic novelist and Ginsberg collaborator Eric Drooker. And who doesn't love a good obscenity trial? With the midcentury modern background reminiscent of "Mad Men" (they even stole that series' star, Jon Hamm!) this might be the next literary biopic to capture the imaginations of more than just readers.
Howl hits theaters in the U.S. on September 24.