James Franco’s offbeat directing debut Interior. Leather Bar may have received a lukewarm response from critics, but nothing seems to dampen the spirits of the ever-ebullient multi-hyphenate, who has revealed plans to adapt James Ellroy’s 1995 novel American Tabloid, about a trio of government agents whose lives become entangled with the assassination of John F Kennedy.
Speaking to MTV at Sundance earlier this week, Franco said he would direct the film and take an acting role. The movie is in the early stages of development.
“We’re going to do American Tabloid by James Ellroy,” Franco told MTV. “It’s not all put together yet. It’s still early. You’re getting the scoop.”
Named Time Magazine’s best fiction book of 1995, Ellroy’s novel chronicles the lives of three rogue American law enforcement officers over a five-year period leading up to Kennedy’s death on 22 November 1963. During that period, they are individually embroiled at various times with the CIA, the mafia and the FBI, as well as famous historical figures such as Howard Hughes, Robert Kennedy, J Edgar Hoover and Jimmy Hoffa.
American Tabloid has been optioned before by Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks for two separate proposed miniseries, neither of which has so far seen the light of day. Hollywood films based on Ellroy’s books include Curtis Hanson’s Oscar-winning 1997 neo-noir LA Confidential and Brian De Palma’s 2006 critical bomb The Black Dahlia.
Franco, whose ever-burgeoning collection of hats includes film student, musician and writer alongside actor and director, will next be seen in the Sam Raimi fantasy prequel Oz the Great and Powerful. As well as Interior. Leather Bar, his recreation of legendary explicit missing scenes from controversial 1980 Al Pacino thriller Cruising, he has two more sex-themed films showing at Sundance: Linda Lovelace biopic Lovelace, in which he plays Hugh Hefner, and S&M documentary Kink, on which he was a producer.
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