An open letter to James Franco regarding ‘The Sound and the Fury’

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To Mr. James Franco,

We always knew that you would do it. You always knew that you would do it. Really, it was only a matter of time before you set your sights on Faulkner, and to be quite honest, we’re glad that you did. It’s high time another piece of classic American literature hit the silver screen. But oh, can’t you just feel all those literati eyebrows furrow with pretentious cynicism? Not to worry — it only makes your well-set brow look the finer.

Mind you, you haven’t made any of this easy on yourself — you could’ve gone for the straightforward “Light in August” Faulkner. But no, that just doesn’t say “James Franco” enough, does it? Instead, you went for the granddaddy of them all (debatably, but with good reason), the “What am I reading? This makes other works in stream-of-consciousness look basic” type Faulkner. But listen: You can do it. Considering your filmography’s recent upward trajectory, starting with the cerebral “Pineapple Express” to the solidly intellectual “Spring Breakers,” it’s only natural that you should directorially manhandle “The Sound and the Fury,” Nobel Prize be damned.

So, James, don’t listen to the haters. Maybe Benjy’s section is irreplaceable, unable to be either filmed or captured. Who cares? Its not as if Faulkner was revealing anything about the power relationships within the Compson family or the arbitrariness of human activity in a medium more nuanced than the rapid succession of still frames, right? And so what, Quentin’s neurosis is better kept on the page than roughly translated onto the screen. It’s fine. You’re the face of Gucci. You got this.

Okay, but in absolute seriousness, we really do hope that your film does justice to “The Sound and the Fury.” It is high time that an American literary classic be a classic in film as well (America was so close with “Heart of Darkness” and “Apocalypse Now” — damn it, Conrad). It would be a huge accomplishment — not just for film but for you as well. It would make Faulkner, and hopefully other great works of literature, more accessible to the public. Which is how it should be.

Truly, we wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely yours,

The Daily Clog

Image Source: Talis Melillo under Creative Commons

Contact Griffin Mori-Tornheim at [email protected]