It’s usually safe to presume that James Franco will be found in the midst of something interesting. Currently, his busy schedule includes captaining the development of Cormac McCarthy’s critically acclaimed novel “Child of God”. Writer (screenplay), director and actor, this is almost entirely his own. The original source, McCarthy’s novel, follows a violent loner existing outside social boundaries. Franco’s interest in exploring the literary world through cinema has been evident for a while now (Howl, The Broken Tower) and so hearing about this project came as no surprise.
According to those involved, the film should make an appearance in festivals this autumn, and is set to be showing in theatres by 2013. The lead role of Lester Ballard has been settled on, played by Scott Haze. Also starring is Jim Parrack as Deputy Cotton, James Franco as Jerry and Tim Blake Nelson as Sheriff Fate. The whole film – the book is set in Sevier County, Tennessee in the 1960’s – will instead be shot in Hillsboro, West Virginia. According to Franco, after an exploration of Sevier Country, it was found to have been overly developed in recent years, and not quite suitable. He also stated that Hillsboro’s architecture and roads made it an appealing setting.
RabbitBandini Productions (Howl, The Feast of Stephen), founded by James Franco and Vince Jolivette, will be producing the project. Franco’s co-owned company seems like the only way to go, with a history of adapting classic novels for the big screen. Many of the company’s most notable productions have premiered in Cannes, Sundance and the Berlinale.
The novel is clearly structured into three separate parts, intending to emphasize the ever-increasing isolation of its main character, Lester. It’s interesting to think about how they might structure the film, whether or not they will follow the same arrangement. Whatever the case, the upcoming project stems from a great source, and will pieced together by an able and gifted team of filmmakers. Finding out how Franco goes about handling a writer like Cormac McCarthy should be fascinating.