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James Franco Network
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February 01, 2015

The next directorial effort from James Franco will be an adaption of the John Steinbeck novel In Dubious Battle, and he has assembled a big-name cast: Selena Gomez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Bryan Cranston and Danny McBride. The film will shoot in March, and we have a few more details on Franco’s In Dubious Battle film adaptation below.

THR got the jump on the announcement, but we’ve got more from the press release. Matt Rager (As I Lay Dying) wrote the screenplay based on the novel.

Published in 1936, In Dubious Battle is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Set in a fictionalized valley in California, the story explores themes Steinbeck continued to develop: group behavior, social injustice, man’s inhumanity to man— all themes which continue to be relevant today. A labor conflict between migrant apple pickers and the local growers’ association is the backdrop against which Jim Nolan (Franco) becomes involved in the labor movement and rapidly matures as he learns what it means to do organizational fieldwork.

Franco has been adapting literary works on a frequent basis lately, taking on William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury, Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God (and, in rough draft form, Blood Meridian), Steve Erickson’s pop-film history Zeroville, and the story of poet Hart Crane. Whether he has done most of those well is a big question — the answer is often “kinda? Maybe.” I appreciate that he’s trying, and that he’s reaching for really difficult material. I do keep hoping he’ll come away with a more firm grasp of that material, and maybe this one will be the success story.



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