Obsession, suicide, virginity, alcoholism, deception and promiscuity, not necessarily in that order

“it’s not that ‘literary” fiction’, and their cousin ‘literary film’ can’t be an escape, a highly enjoyable one, it is that they offer so much more than that because the story doesn’t depend on a formula. They are organic and sometimes messy like life. These stories are soul food for the senses because they engage our sense of empathy and imagination. They speak on many levels and deal with the stuff of real life. They help us know ourselves and to understand others…!”

Hello again lovelies,

I hope your new year is off to an engaging start. I just finished reading a wonderful book that further imagined the life of legendary writer, Ernest Hemingway, so when I got the news that funding to bring another great American writer’s work to the screen had finally come together, I breathed a sigh of relief and excitement and wanted to share the news with all of you!

Movie making is a ‘team sport’ however hats off go to James Franco said producer, Ron Singer, of Thats Hollywood Pictures and tv for pulling off the almost impossible! These lovers of literature have come together to bring one of 20th century America’s most important novels “The Sound and the Fury” to the big screen. Nobel Prize winning writer William Faulkner’s epic tale of all the things listed in this post’s title and more. "The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars that help him endure and prevail."  W.F.

“The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars that help him endure and prevail.” W.F.

James has talked fondly about reading Faulkner as a boy, and why he still likes and teaches his work. So it is a beautiful homage to the great writer and screenwriter – Faulkner, adapted the work of two master story tellers into successful film scripts – Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and Raymond Chandler’s detective novel “The Big Sleep” –that James decided to adapt the novel and co-wrote the script with his friend, Matt Rager. While security on stills is tight, the candids below taken on set last week show James dressed down and getting into character as well as wearing his director’s hat. 

franco on set Jan 22nd 2014

Word is Franco intends to use the finished movie in the film classes he teaches at universities both in LA and NYC. This isn’t the first time James has put his time, money and talent towards adapting Faulkner’s fiction for film. “As I Lay Dying” premiered at Cannes this year and judging by reviews he pulled it off with “aplomb” so “The Sound and the Fury” is likely to be even better than its predecessor. The way the second time mother or father is often a better parent.

There are some that wonder if James, who likes to burn the candle at both ends, is over extended and whether this will affect the projects he is committed to? The guy is only human after all. Asked about this, and the difficulties around funding and distribution, Singer clearly said, “he wouldn’t want James to be any other way.” And with recent studies on the merits of literary fiction finding it, “good medicine” for an often apathetic society, I say, “way to go James for using your considerable influence to bring quality literature and film into the consciousness of the millennials and popular culture at large.”

the director on set

All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible” W.F.

A former student of Franco’s called him “one of the best, best, best film teachers I have had.” and said “He is so great..it’s easy to forget he is famous he is so humble and talks to you as a peer.” At his recent Comedy Central Roast, James was called a lot of things, but humble wasn’t one of them. That is probably because it takes a big healthy ego,imagination and determination, to translate Faulkner’s epic tale of obsession, suicide, virginity, alcoholism, deception and promiscuity, not necessarily in that order amongst the aristocratic, once prominent, Compson family in post civil war America.

The novel has been called un-filmable by some due to its stream of consciousness style and non-linear story line. So it is especially brave of Franco to fight not only to bring the story to the screen, but to insist on artist integrity in the filming. This remake, unlike the recent, Gatsby, isn’t full of music video inspired cuts and will not be shown in 3D. (I love and admire the creative team of Baz Lurhman and Catherine Martin -so no offense meant!) I wonder if “The Sound and the Fury will be ripe with the longer luscious camera pans and dreamy sequences, that worked so well in “As I Lay Dying”?

Franco in As I lay Dying

“Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder” William Faulkner

Anyway, they don’t call it show BUSINESS for nothingFunnily enough, the European market would rather have our fast action dreck than an art house adaptation of one of America’s classic novels  Even if the movie is being made by the gorgeous, idiosyncratic actor/director, playwright, James Franco and includes hot Hollywood actor/director/producer, Seth Rogan.  This did not make the producer’s job easy. No, no, not easy at all. Singer, a collector of literary first editions,and a long time friend, has had to act like a magician on this one. First and foremost to raise the money needed to make the movie.  And secondly, to cut a distribution deal that will make this film available, and accessible, while remaining true to the artist’s visions and legacy. I can’t wait to attend the premier! 

About engagingly yours

Passionate Poet, Writer, Yoga Teacher, Realistic Idealist, Devotee, servant and Champion of Beauty, Lover of Life: visit me at Engagingthesenses.com
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