It seems a film festival can’t go by without a project starring, produced, directed or breathed on by James Franco unspooling. The ever busy multitasker seems to have his fingers in a dozen different pies at any one time, but even then, many were surprised to find “As I Lay Dying” slated for Cannes in the Un Certain Regard category. Certainly, Franco already has more than a few films under his belt as a director, but this is definitely the splashiest premiere any of his movies have received, and now an advance peek is here.
EW has the first image from the William Faulkner adaptation that also stars Franco (natch) along with “True Blood” thesp Jim Parrack, with Danny McBride, Ahna O’Reilly, Logan Marshall-Green and Tim Blake Nelson. To say the movie is ambitious is an understatement, as the source material itself is challenging, told through the voices of 15 different characters, but Franco has been working hard to get it right. In early 2011 he did a test shoot of the 160-page script (the movie now runs 2 hours) and has been working on it for years. And while he initially boasted the cast would include Michael Shannon, Paul Dano, Richard Jenkins and Joaquin Phoenix, that didn’t pan out, so hopefully this smaller scale cast will deliver.
No distribution yet, but “As I Lay Dying” is one of the more interesting wildcards at Cannes. Another Franco lark or a step up for the filmmaker? We’ll soon find out.