Unless you have a spreadsheet keeping track of James Franco’s 37 artistic ventures currently in progress, chances are you may have forgotten about Child of God, the film he’s directing from Cormac McCarthy’s 1973 novella about a cave-dwelling necrophiliac. Not to be confused, of course, with that other best-selling writer’s Child of God movie, C.O.G., adapted from a David Sedaris story.
This one stars Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, and Scott Haze as Lester Ballard, a necrophiliac expelled from his family in 1960s Tennessee and forced to live in underground caves, which he peoples with the decomposing corpses of his victims. I guess casting Rachel Ray would’ve been too obvious.
How is that this movie is playing the Venice Film Festival this week and the trailer still looks like an idea for a Kickstarter project? All we get is a shot of Haze as Ballard and Nelson narrating the book’s title passage:
He was of German and Irish bloods. His name was Lester Ballard. A child of god, much like yourself, perhaps.
Some other passages:
He could not swim, but how would you drown him? His wrath seemed to buoy him up. Some halt in the way of things seems to work here. See him. You could say that he’s sustained by his fellow man, like you. Has peopled the shore with them calling to him. A race that gives suck to the maimed and the crazed, that wants their wrong blood in its history and will have it. But they want this man’s life. He has heard them in the night seeking him with lanterns and cries of execration. How then is he borne up? Or rather, why will not these waters take him?
In his gloriously obtuse way, McCarthy is basically asking why mankind nurtures its psychopaths (“gives suck to,” ie nurses, like a mother). I still don’t know what the hell “some halt in the way of things seems to work here” means, but I’m interested to see how James Franco interprets it. Something tells me a lot of it is going to involve him giving suck to himself.