James Franco is on a memoir-optioning spree. OK, two films might not count as a spree, exactly, but he just delivered the second half of a one-two optioning punch. Not long ago there was news of Mr. Franco buying Stephen Elliott‘s The Adderall Diaries as a possible writing/producing/directing project. And now he’s optioned D.J. Waldie‘s memoir Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir.
Variety says that James Franco was first exposed to the book at UCLA, and that, according to the author, “it stuck in his memory.” The actor just optioned the book, which D.K. Waldie projects would be material for a possible documentary.
The book is as much a memoir of a time and place as of Mr. Waldie himself. Holy Land describes the development of one of the California tract home suburbs that came to define a certain type of American living, and which created a pattern of suburban life that still defines parts of the country today. The neighborhood described here is the sort of place against which Steven Spielberg has made many films, and it’s the sort of place I grew up in. How it might become a movie is difficult to say, but there could be something good here.
Here’s a synopsis, via Amazon:
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D.K. Waldie, the public information officer of Lakewood, CA, as a boy moved with his family to one of that town’s suburbs that was designed and built nearly overnight during the 1950s. In this unusual and compelling memoir organized into a series of short, episodic essays, some of which were previously published in journals, the author describes both a place and the mindset of a decade. Built on a grid, the subdivision of identical houses on similar lots was owned by three businessmen whose Jewish background would have prevented them from living there at that time. Homes were quickly sold to young couples (many of the men were WWII veterans) purchasing a house for the first time…. The author changes while the land around him does, in a story of how people make places and, more so, places make people.