Remember at the beginning of this year, when James Franco was talking up his plans to adapt two American literary classics – William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian – for the big screen? Well, that’s pretty much all it has amounted to at this point: talk.
Franco hasn’t abandoned his plans of adapting Blood Meridian completely, but he says the project has been put hold – and now, he’s moving forward with another McCarthy adaptation, Child of God.
“Child of God” is the third book written by McCarthy, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his post-apocalyptic novel, The Road. He’s better known to the moviegoing masses as the author of “No Country for Old Men,” which was eventually adapted into a Best Picture-winning film by the Coen Brothers.
Here’s the direct quote from Franco (via We Got This Covered) concerning his plans to direct an adaptation (or two) of McCarthy’s literature.
“We shot a 20 minute test of it ['Blood Meridian] that turned out pretty well… we were gearing up to do the feature but that for various reasons is on hold, but we are going to make a movie based on [Cormac McCarthy’s] third book ‘Child Of God’.”
For those who are not familiar with McCarthy’s novel… well, the following synopsis/review (featured on Amazon) does a nice job of illustrating why this will be
an insane a very difficult adaptation to pull off:
“Child of God” must be the most sympathetic portrayal of necrophilia in all of literature. The hero, Lester Ballard, is expelled from his human family and ends up living in underground caves, which he peoples with his trophies: giant stuffed animals won in carnival shooting galleries and the decomposing corpses of his victims.
Between his recent directorial effort Sal (which premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival) and plans to direct two documentaries – one about the adults-only website Kink.com, the other about the soap opera General Hospital – Franco is looking to really get his career as a director going full force. Tackling an intimidating prospect like Child of God could very much help Franco – or stop him dead in his tracks.
A highly experienced filmmaker would surely struggle to properly adapt the Child of God novel for the big screen – retaining both the macabre beauty and stark lyricism of the story, as originally told through McCarthy’s trademark prose. The idea that someone like Franco could effectively pull off the viciously violent tale that is Blood Meridian on the big screen was a big enough stretch; the thought of him managing Child of God sounds like (sorry to say) a ridiculous pipe dream, right now.
On the other hand – crazier things have happened and there is something kind of admirable (or pitiable – you choose) about Franco’s ambitious plans. Besides, if Terry Gilliam can get Tideland made, then Franco should be able to convince someone to finance a film adaptation of Child of God, right?
We’ll keep you posted on the status of Child of God as the story develops (or when Franco next talks about it).