james franco as i lay dying

James Franco seems to have no qualms about attacking a project, no matter what the content—whether it’s making a high-concept meta-study of the gay footage excised from William Friedkin’s Cruising (Interior.Leather Bar), playing a spring rapper/gangster (Spring Breakers), or totally bombing at the Oscars.  So it makes sense that he’d be willing to write, direct, and star in As I Lay Dying, the film adaptation of one of the 20th Century’s greatest novels, written by one of the greatest writers, well, ever: William Faulkner.

The film (and the novel) tells the story of the Bundren family, who struggle to transport the casket containing their mother over 40 miles to her desired resting place, encountering all manner of disaster and hardship on the increasingly brutal and existential trek.  Think of it as a 1930s-era Wages of Fear or Sorcerer, if you will.

And Franco has really gone full throttle here—not only is he starring in the film, he wrote the script and directed the film, which costars Tim Blake Nelson, Kim Parrack, and Danny McBride.

No official U.S. release date has yet been set, but the film is set to premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

What do you think of the trailer?