James Franco has announced plans to direct and star in an adaptation of James Ellroy's American Tabloid. At the Sundance Film Festival, Franco told MTV of a project that "is not all put together yet" but is in the early stages of development.
Part of the writer's 'Underworld USA' trilogy that is rounded off by The Cold Six Thousand and Blood's A Rover, American Tabloid spans the late '50s and early '60s, a rich period in American history set in a world, that, captured by Ellroy's machine-gun prose, is equally rich in gangsters, politicians and CIA spooks.
Franco (and his writers' challenge) will be condensing the multi-stranded narrative that revolves around lawmen Pete Bondurant, Kemper Boyd and Ward Littell into something workable on the screen. The three leads all become mixed up in the JFK assassination, so there's no shortage of dramatic raw materials to work from once the structure has been nailed, although fans of the book will want reassuring that the source novel is in safe hands.
Actor, writer, director, filmmaker, Oscar host, poet, author, director (dammit, said that one), multi-tasker and charity hero, Franco is a man whose ability to squeeze accomplishments from the day suggests some kind of voodoo-like control over the passing of time. Like that old dude in The Hudsucker Proxy, he's freezing time long enough to squeeze Tabloid into a schedule that also boasts William Faulkner adaptation As I Lay Dying, Paul Haggis's Third Person and '60s hairdresser Jay Sebring in Beautiful People.