Of course we have all seen the news: James Franco will be helming the adaptation of one of the greatest American novels ever written (As I Lay Dying). I, for one, am bummed. What I can’t seem to find is how he got the rights. I was under the impression that David Milch had aquired all screen rights to Faulkner’s work at the end of the year last year. Am I wrong on this? Did he only aquire television rights? Is there a difference? Can someone shine light on this?
Yeah, Milch has a deal with HBO and the Faulkner estate that basically allows him to work with the estate’s executor to choose works to be adapted (to either TV or film), then HBO would have right of first refusal to finance and distribute.
I’m assuming either the Franco thing was a done deal before the Milch thing (Franco was talking about doing back in Jan 2011 and the Milch deal wasn’t announced until Dec), or that Franco simply worked through Milch to obtain the right to make the film (to be clear, the intention of the deal is for Milch to produce the works, not for him to write/direct them all himself).
While being one of my favorite novels, I’d like to see what Franco can do with it. His film, The Broken Tower, was quite interesting and shows he has a real appreciation for literature.
Franco is also adapting Cormac McCarth’s Child of God.
I am weary of both projects.
Dreyer once expressed some interest in adapting Faulkner’s Light in August — an interest he shared with Luis Buñuel (and with actors Zachary Scott and Ruth Ford, a couple who once actually held the film rights)
Dreyer or Bunuel adapting Faulkner—that wouldn’t be wearisome at all. The thought of either of those happening is almost too much for my mind to handle, actually.
Thanks Matt. I did know the deal was for him to Produce, but often with Milch that means direct and write as well, and I would assume this would be the case if he were adapting a piece to be made into a film.
Tomas, I have heard The Broken Tower is pretty interesting from others as well. Most of my skepticism comes from reading interviews with Franco and the way he talks about how he intends to go about it. I’m sure he has an appreciation for literature, but his appreciation for literature is not what I worry about when he is adapting the novel to the screen – I’d be a lot less skeptical if it was someone with the writing and conceptual skills of someone like Milch. Faulkner is also my favorite novelist, and Milch my favorite screen artist or auteur or what have you working today (so there is a bias here for me), and Milch seems to me the only one able to adapt the once considered unadaptable prose of Faulkner.
Actually there are some fairly interesting Faulkner adaptations . . . The Story of Temple Drake (1933), Clarence Brown’s Intruder in the Dust (1949), Sirk’s The Tarnished Angels.
I can’t see how anyone can make a movie of As I Lay Dying, but we’ll see.
Howard Hawks was a friend of Faulkner….
“’One of Howard Hawks friends, Clark Gable, had a .410 over and under shotgun that Faulkner admired so much he wanted one like it. The first time they had driven into the Imperial Valley for some dove-hunting, Hawks began to talk about books. He would remember the conversation clearly. Faulkner entered into it, but Gable remained silent. Finally he ventured a question.
“Mr. Faulkner,” he said, “what do you think somebody should read if he wants to read the best modern books? Who would you say are the best living writers?”
After a moment, Faulkner answered. “Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Thomas Mann, John Dos Passos, and myself.”
Gable took a moment to absorb that information. “Oh,” he said. “Do you write?”
“Yes, Mr. Gable,” Faulkner replied. “What do you do?”"’
Wow I finally started reading this novel about a week ago. Weird timing.
An appreciation is enough in my book. Whether he is faithful to the material or does it ‘correctly’ is irrelevant and an aspect I couldn’t care less for. He’s obviously passionate about it and that is significantly more improgant. Films are not books and books are not films. A film should stand alone and previous material should not be taken into consideration. If he makes a terrible film no one’s going to go back and reevaluate Faulkner. If he makes a bad film, then it’s a bad film.