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James Franco To Direct & Star In Adaptation Of James Ellroy’s ‘American Tabloid’

James Franco To Direct & Star In Adaptation Of James Ellroy's 'American Tabloid'

So, what you have done this January? If you’re James Franco, you’re currently at the Sundance Film Festival dropping two films, signing on to direct and star in the biopic of hairstylist Jay Sebring in “Beautiful People,” and you wrote a poem for the inauguration. Seriously. And it seems the always busy Franco has just added yet another project to his slate.

Chatting with MTV up in Park City, Franco revealed he’s got another directing/starring gig lined up. “We’re going to do ‘American Tabloid‘ by James Ellroy,” Franco revealed. “It’s not all put together yet. It’s still early.” But this will certainly be big news to fans of the author, who have seen the book percolating in Hollywood for years now.

A sprawling tale that spans from 1958 to 1963, the story follows law enforcement officers Pete Bondurant, Kemper Boyd and Ward Littell, who slowly get entangled with the CIA, FBI and the mafia, which winds up with their involvement in the JFK assassination. Given the scope of the story, it’s not a surprise that previous iterations have been in miniseries form, first with Bruce Willis attached to star and produce, and then later crossing the desk of Tom Hanks at his Playtone shingle. Both would’ve also worked on Ellroy’s “The Cold Six Thousand,” the second book in the Underworld USA trilogy that caps off with “Blood’s A Rover,” but it’s unclear yet if Franco will be following that same path.

Indeed, as the director/actor advises, it’s still early and who knows if/when this will get done, but given Franco’s work ethic it’s just as likely it could happen. Ellroy’s material is great stuff (even if it hasn’t always translated well on the big screen — sorry, “Black Dahlia“) and this sounds like a ripping story that could be solid thriller. Let’s hope Franco puts this a bit higher up on his to-do list.

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