James Franco and Jon HammJeff Vespa/Getty

You can take the student out of grad school, but you can't take grad school out of the student. James Franco is hoping to flex his classical literature chops yet again with a movie adaptation of William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury." Franco has already written the screenplay with fellow writer Matt Rager, and plans to direct and star.

It will be interesting to see how Franco and Rager have modified Faulkner's work for the big screen, considering "The Sound and the Fury" has a complicated structure that hops between narrators and voices, in a stream-of-consciousness style.

Although Franco's role hasn't been revealed, he has said he's hoping to snag his "Howl" co-star Jon Hamm for the role of the Compson family patriarch. He'd also like to cast his brother Dave Franco as one of the narrators, Quentin Compson -- a recurring Faulkner character.

Franco also has his eye on Danny McBride for a role, which isn't as incongruous as you might think. Although most audiences know McBride as the goofy guy from movies like "This Is the End" and "Pineapple Express" and the HBO comedy "Eastbound and Down," he first appeared in the quiet coming-of-age film "All the Real Girls," by longtime friend David Gordon Green. He also appeared in Franco's cinematic take on "As I Lay Dying," which just premiered at Cannes. Judging by reviews, the actor/writer/director pulled off his adaptation of the equally unwieldy Faulkner classic with aplomb, so perhaps "The Sound and the Fury" will follow suit.

The seemingly inexhaustible Franco will be shooting a new film by Wim Wenders this summer, and he also just launched a crowdfunding project aimed at raising cash for young filmmakers to adapt his short stories into a trilogy of feature-length films.

Book adaptations are hot in Hollywood -- look no further than the young adult market for proof -- but perhaps this signals a slow return to the classics. DreamWorks is making moves on an adaptation of "The Grapes of Wrath," which would be produced by Steven Spielberg; the studio is currently in negotiations with author John Steinbeck's estate.

Both "The Sound and the Fury" and "The Grapes of Wrath" have already been turned into movies, though of the two, "The Grapes of Wrath" is more highly regarded. Nominated for seven Oscars in 1941, it won two -- for Best Director (John Ford) and Best Supporting Actress (Jane Darwell).

[via L.A. Times]

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