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James Franco to Direct Adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian’ Starring Russell Crowe

James Franco to Direct Adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 'Blood Meridian' Starring Russell Crowe

James Franco

Update: Per The Hollywood Reporter, the deal is now off — the filmmakers (including producers Scott Rudin, Cassian Elwes and Vince Jolivette) didn’t actually secure the rights to the novel. The project is currently up in the air. More updates to come as they arrive.

Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West” has piqued the interest of many a filmmaker over the years, from Ridley Scott and Todd Field to Michael Haneke and John Hillcoat. It appears that one director has finally won out: James Franco, who previously adapted the author’s “Child of God” and once shot “Blood Meridian” test footage on his own dime. The news comes via Deadline, who also report that Russell Crowe is in talks to star (presumably as evil incarnate, AKA Judge Holden), with Tye Sheridan (most likely as the Kid) and Vincent D’Onofrio onboard as well. Franco, ever the multi-hyphenate, will also appear onscreen.

READ MORE: Watch: James Franco’s Takes On Cormac McCarthy In The Teaser For ‘Child of God’

“Blood Meridian” is among the most profound, disturbing works of American literature written in the latter half of the 20th century. The anti-Western also frequently described as “unfilmable,” not only for its cosmically brutal violence (dead babies and scalping abound) but also for McCarthy’s elusive prose. (Go ahead, put this sentence onscreen: “They were watching, out there past men’s knowing, where stars are drowning and whales ferry their vast souls through the black and seamless sea.”) 

READ MORE: Review: ‘The Counselor,’ Written By Cormac McCarthy And Directed By Ridley Scott, Is An Equally Chilling And Ridiculous Companion Piece to Costa-Gavras’ ‘Capital’

A decade ago, only “All the Pretty Horses” had been brought to the silver screen. “The Road” brought McCarthy to a new stratosphere when it was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and won the Pulitzer Prize; a year later, the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of “No Country for Old Men” took home Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Hillcoat adapted “The Road” in 2009, and McCarthy’s first original script, “The Counselor,” was directed by Scott in 2013. “Blood Meridian” has no release date yet.

For more, watch the trailer for Franco’s adaptation of “The Sound and the Fury”:

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