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You can be in James Franco's film of Faulkner's 'As I Lay Dying'

August 08, 2012|by Carolyn Kellogg
  • William Faulkner's favorite photograph of himself, taken in 1947 by Colonel Hugh Evans (credit: Crown Books). James Franco in 2011.
William Faulkner's favorite photograph of himself, taken in 1947… (James Franco photo by Robert…)

Are you feeling like a William Faulkner character? Head to Mississippi, where open call casting sessions for the film adaptation of "As I Lay Dying" begin this week. Don't be surprised if you think you see James Franco; the Oscar-nominated actor adapted the novel for the screen, and will be directing.

"I want to be loyal to the book — my approach is to always be loyal in a lot a ways — but in order to be loyal I will have to change some things for the movie," Franco told Entertainment Weekly in 2011. That could be said of any book, but the challenges of translating "As I Lay Dying" for the screen are manifold: 15 characters narrate its 59 chapters, including the dead matriarch.

“You want to capture the tone, but you can’t work in exactly the same way,” Franco explained. “I don’t believe it’ll feel the same if you divide it as rigidly as the book, like titles that say ‘Cash’ and then you’re with Cash. You can slip into the characters’ heads and give them their inner voice for a while, but it has to be more fluid because movies just work differently than books.”

Is he looking for a Cash? Maybe not -- the role of the eldest son might be one Franco would prefer to keep for himself. Then again, he might prefer to play brother Darl, who carries much of the narrating duties. What the filmmakers are looking for are people to play main characters and then, later in the week, supporting characters.

The casting call is Wednesday in Jackson, Miss. According to local television station WAPT, the filmmakers are looking for main characters to be played by "white boys 8 to 10 years old, who can play a young-looking, country boy with a slight rebellious and dreamy nature. The producers are also looking for white girls age 16 to 25, who are described as clean-kept, attractive girls."

The producers are looking for supporting characters described as "men of all races ages 40 and older, white boys ages 8 to 10, and white girls ages 16 to 25."

All those ready to audition should bring a photograph of themselves. And if you go, be sure to tell us all about it.

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