Word that James Franco wanted to adapt Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridien’ has been going around since 2011, but considering Franco has spent his time since making tepidly reviewed adaptations of ‘Child of God‘ (another McCarthy book) and ‘As I Lay Dying,‘ (not to mention six slam poems and combination spoken word/video installations where he carves “Cormac McCarthy” into his own buttocks with a rusty razor, I’m sure) it was hard to know if Franco would ever get to ‘Meridian.’ Which gives me mixed feelings, as I’d very much like to see a film adaptation of ‘Meridien,’ which makes ‘The Road’ feel like a children’s book about puppies by comparison – though I’m not sure James Franco is the one to direct it.
To his credit, Dicknose is offering us the opportunity to judge for ourselves, posting this 25-minute test he shot for it, starring Scott Glenn, Luke Perry, Mark Pellegrino, and James’ brother Dave, over on Vice.
In some ways Blood seems un-filmable. It is almost Biblical in its prose. His terse prose utilizes vocabulary only found in the crannies of annals of the Old West and the specialized spheres of working men. He captures the slang of forgotten peoples so deftly, it’s as if they were his barroom friends.
Huh. I didn’t hang out in the old west a lot, but I could’ve sworn he just made most of that shit up.
We shot it in three days in some place near Yosemite that is the mule capital of the world. If you know the book, you’ll recognize that this is the sequence where Tobin recounts how the Glanton gang met the Judge, a Satan-like character and Glanton’s right-hand man. The gang was out of gunpowder and about to be caught by Apache warriors, whereupon they would be killed for lack of working weaponry. Enjoy. [VICE]
I watched it. Well, I made it through about 12 minutes, anyway, and I feel pretty confident I didn’t miss much. It kind of reminds me of a college production of Shakespeare, where there’s a lot of reverence towards the words but not a ton of thought given to how they should actually sound. Scott Glenn sounds like he’s reading copy for a Saturn commercial. And the staging doesn’t tell me much besides “I filmed some actors in a way that would allow for the least amount of editing possible,” where sometimes a close-up turns into a random shot of a guy’s neck and then back again. As Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice said of Franco’s ‘Child of God,’ “Time and again I found myself looking at a wobbly shot of somebody’s slouched shoulder, or a not-very-interesting left ear, wondering what information, exactly, these visuals were intended to convey.”
Basically, it looks like James Franco filmed an audiobook. But, you know, other than that, pretty good. James Franco should definitely set up a Kickstarter for this so that I can give him $10.50.