As I Lay Dying

James Franco, a man who never met a kudzu-covered portico he didn’t like, has found the next project by which he can fuel his Southern Gothic obsession. Novelist William Gay will join William Faulkner and John Steinbeck in getting the Franco treatment as the actor-director prepares to adapt Gay’s prize-winning debut The Long Home, the tale of a young man facing down evil in 1940s Tennessee. There’s no word yet on casting, although bets that Franco will cast his favorite thespianactor James Francoin the lead role are currently being staked by our hypothetical Vegas bookmakers at 1:1 or less.

The Long Home is the story of Nathan Winer, a contractor hired to build a Tennessee honky-tonk by the man who murdered his father, Satanic small-town tycoon Dallas Hardin. The story leans heavily on supernatural touches like mysterious, brimstone-scented pits and strange lights in the woods to establish its tone of mystery and menace, all of which scream out for Francoic touches like a random split-screen or some Japanese Kabuki theater to bring them to life. Meanwhile, fans of the actor’s work are already rushing to get their “James Franco Accent Bingo” cards printed up, awaiting the moment when the actor finally completes his conquest of the English language, leaving no vowel unextended or consonant unharried. We can only hope none of the houses in The Long Home have verandas, or there might not be any survivors left to tell the tale.