As I Lay Dying has never been adapted for the screen before. William Faulkner’s 1930 classic is an especially complicated tale, alternating between dozens of points of view, while telling the story of a family’s journey to bury the matriarch. It was a bold decision for James Franco to take on the task.
Despite his forays into experimental art, academia, and short stories, Franco is still best known for his acting work. For As I Lay Dying, Franco not only wrote the screenplay, he also directed the film and stars as Darl Bundren. Though he’s often scrutinized for taking on too many ambitious projects, Franco has been appropriately thoughtful and introspective about the monumental task of adapting a literary classic. In an interview in January 2011, long before filming began, Franco told EW:
“You want to capture the tone, but you can’t work in exactly the same way … I don’t believe it’ll feel the same if you divide it as rigidly as the book, like titles that say ‘Cash’ and then you’re with Cash. You can slip into the characters’ heads and give them their inner voice for a while, but it has to be more fluid because movies just work differently than books. Movies, in some ways because they deal in images, are more concrete. I want to be loyal to the book — my approach is to always be loyal in a lot a ways — but in order to be loyal I will have to change some things for the movie.”
Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) also star. Check out the As I Lay Dying trailer after the jump.
As I Lay Dying premiered at the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, and should hit theaters in the U.S. sometime in 2013.