Jen Yamato is a Deadline contributor.
James Franco said today that he will direct and star in the James Ellroy adaptation American Tabloid. Deadline is hearing that the period adaptation is still coming together and is in the early stages, but Franco spilled the news to MTV while promoting his trio of festival projects at Sundance. Ellroy’s 1995 novel follows five years in the lives of three ex-law enforcement officers embroiled in shady interconnected Washington dealings that lead to President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination — a saga peppered with real-life figures including Jimmy Hoffa, Jack Ruby, Howard Hughes, and the Kennedy clan. Bruce Willis previously tried to turn American Tabloid and its sequel The Cold Six Thousand into an HBO TV miniseries in 2002 before Kirk Ellis took a stab at adapting the material for Tom Hanks’ Playtone and HBO in 2009.
Franco is in Park City with the Cruising reinterpretation Interior. Leather Bar., which he co-directed; the sex documentary kink, which he co-produced; and Lovelace, in which he stars opposite Amanda Seyfried. Deadline’s Mike Fleming reported from Sundance on Thursday that Franco is plotting to star in and direct Beautiful People, a biopic of celebrity hairstylist and Manson Family victim Jay Sebring. He will next be seen in Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. Franco is repped by CAA and James Levy Management.
Ellroy’s most recent crime novel, Blood’s A Rover, the third in his Underworld USA trilogy preceded by American Tabloid and Cold Six Thousand, is being developed by VS Entertainment with Vincent Sieber and Clark Peterson producing and Ellroy as executive producer.