Yesterday a lot of people were surprised when word came out that James Franco is actively pursuing two very lofty directorial ambitions — he wants to write and direct film versions of William Faulkner‘s landmark novel As I Lay Dying, and Cormac McCarthy‘s Blood Meridian.

There was some initial skepticism about half of that report, as producer Scott Rudin wrote to IndieWire to suggest that the Blood Meridian news was either premature or incorrect. But now James Franco has done a little interview explaining his approach to both novels. And how does Jacob from Lost fit into all this? Answer after the break. Read More »

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You can’t say that James Franco isn’t ambitious. He has recently optioned a set of memoirs as possible writing and directing projects, and seems to be taking acting gigs at a rapid pace, all while studying at Yale.

Now there’s a report saying we can add two other possible directorial projects to the pile, and neither of them is exactly small-time stuff. It claims Franco is working on two different deals to write and direct adaptations of difficult literary properties: William Faulkner‘s As I Lay Dying, and Cormac McCarthy‘s Blood Meridian. Read More »

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Author Cormac McCarthy gives very few interviews. So when he does sit down and talk with someone, the result is usually worth a look. Now, as the film version of his novel The Road is rolling out, McCarthy and director John Hillcoat have done a few brief talks. It’s really McCarthy’s show, as Hillcoat just interjects a question or observation here and there. After the break, check out what the reclusive author has to say about the film version of All the Pretty Horses, the potential movie of Blood Meridian, and the end of the world. Read More »

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Updated 06/04/08: All signs point to Ridley Scott directing the first major Hollywood adaptation of Aldous Huxley‘s 1932 classic Brave New World, possibly with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead. Scott has been in discussions with the Huxley estate for sometime, as has DiCaprio. This article from the Sunday Times back in March took a look at negotiations. Themes in Brave New World have appeared in numerous sci-fi films over the years. Equilibrium definitely comes to mind. Set in a faux-utopian dystopia, society has been organized into a class system based on eugenics, with the government issuing a drug to the public called Soma that induces hedonistic escape fantasies. Our readers also believe that this will be Scott’s next film, though others have mentioned Ender’s Game and Hyperion Cantos as projects that would be well-served by Scott’s eye and mind as well. Thanks to everyone who commented, a nice discussion is below for those who haven’t lurked or taken part yet.

When I hear “Ridley Scott,” I think well-made R-rated pictures for adults that could/should not be PG-13. Scott doesn’t bend under the weight of market forces. If he wants to dabble in PG-13 fare, he’ll make an underrated, meditative flick like White Squall, all the while his sci-fi masterpieces, Blade Runner and Alien, still loom large over the genre, keeping our expectations in check even as Hollywood surfs on teen tidal waves. I’m more than cool with Nolan’s vision for Batman or The Hobbit being PG-13, but I won’t abandon the vocal need/want for R-rated sci-fi/action. Even today, Scott’s sci-fi outings would not garner PG-13 ratings, nor would several of James Cameron’s genre cornerstones. While clearly no rating can be determined at this juncture, Eclipse got a big scoop: Ridley Scott’s next film after he’s done shooting Nottingham with Russell Crow will be sci-fi. Sweet.

“Q: You directed Blade Runner and Alien, which are seminal science fiction films. Why have you not done more science fiction films?

RIDLEY SCOTT: I am going to do one. I waited for a book for 20 years and I have got the book. I am not going to tell you what the book is but that film is going to probably be written within the next month. That will definitely be what I do next after Nottingham, the Robin Hood film that I am doing now in England.”

Haven’t had time to seriously ponder what book he’s referring to. Any guesses? I’ll update the post if any of your guesses seem viable and/or if ours are. Another project that we should all hope comes to fruition is Scott’s adaptation of NCFOM author Cormac McCarthy‘s 1985 classic Blood Meridian.

“We got [Blood Meridian] down as a screenplay and the problem is that it is so savage. But that’s what it is. If you did it properly it would be an X-certificate. But you can’t apologise for the violence and you can’t quantify the violence and you shouldn’t try to explain the violence. It is what it is…an exercise in brutality, savagery and violence. For the most part it is probably relatively accurate. It shows the flipside to Dances With Wolves of how the United States was probably taken. It was taken by the throat.”

Comparable to a future where predatory robots roam a scorched Earth, much of history (not to mention McCarthy’s work) merits a hardcore take: scalping in this instance. Though I remain baffled at the predictable structure, presentation and ethical stumbles of American Gangster, Scott’s upcoming films like Body of Lies with DiCaprio and Crowe, Nottingham and the ones discussed here all sound highly promising and uncompromising. Some of our younger directors should take note. Paul Thomas Anderson did and it’s worked out fine, the popcorn even tasted the same.

Discuss: Scott returning to sci-fi, pretty cool right? What sci-fi book do you think Scott is adapting? Any fans of Blood Meridian?

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