When James Franco, the sometimes over committed but admirably ambitious multihyphenate, claimed that he was going to direct an adaptation of As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner’s classic novel about a family’s journey to honor the request of their dying mother, we were cautiously optimistic.
The multi-character, stream-of-consciousness novel seemed out of reach for any director. But Franco has given it a go, and assembled an enviable cast including Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus). Though it’s too early to judge the outcome, we finally got a glimpse at his vision in the first trailer, which lingers on the bucolic Mississippi landscape before escalating the tension with the helpful narration of a prescient innocent. It’s mercifully unsentimental and does not take pains to put the viewer at ease. Check it out for yourself below.