Is there anything that James Francocan't do? He created Oscar buzz with his portrayal of mountain climber Aron Ralston in '127 Hours,' is busy earning his PhD at Yale University and is attending classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, and he just directed an indie feature about poet Hart Crane ('The Broken Tower'). On top of that, Franco is busy moving talent agencies, gearing up to screen his 'Three's Company-esque' film project at Sundance's New Frontier space, and is taking to the stage in February to co-host the Academy Awards (I'm still hoping he brings Marina Abramović as his date), amongst other things.
Now comes the news that the actor may be in talks to direct a William Faulkner classic from his own screenplay, 'As I Lay Dying.' He's also apparently working out a deal to tackle Cormac McCarthy's 'Blood Meridian' in 2012.
Showbiz411 had the scoop that Franco and his manager have the backing of Fox Searchlight to bring the Faulkner tale to the big screen. The stream-of-consciousness story -- about a family making a grim pilgrimage to bury their matriarch -- has been a long-standing Hollywood commodity, which directors like Sean Penn have expressed an interest in. Showbiz411 says the dynamic, young actor hopes to get the project started next Spring. Franco may also team up with the equally versatile producer, Scott Rudin, to write and direct Cormac McCarthy's 'Blood Meridian' next year. However, according to The Playlist (via an email to Rudin from Anne Thompson), the producer "severely downplays Friedman's report without exactly denying it." So devour this news with a grain of salt for now.
McCarthy's novel has been compared to the works of Faulkner, and McCarthy's stories have been developed into some interesting films -- including the Coen's neo-Western 'No Country for Old Men.' 'Blood Meridian' also has a Western theme and follows a teenage runaway amongst 19th century bounty hunters in the American Southwest who are recovering Indian scalps.
Both Faulker and McCarthy's stories have a unique narrative structure, and Franco seems like the perfect personality to helm the projects. So far he's kicking 2011's ass, but has the actor taken on more than he can handle? Or are you confident that this notable talent can bridge the jump from actor to director and from page to screen?