The young actor, director, writer and – at the moment – student, has decided to star in and direct a big screen adaptation of The Night Stalker, Phillip Carlo’s non-fiction account of the life and crimes of Richard Ramirez. From the book’s blurb on Carlo’s website:
From out of the darkness he comes, silent and deadly. Cloaked all in black, he moves in shadows, blending and becoming one with them. No one ever sees him…until it is too late. He is more than one of the most feared serial killers of all time. He is the stealthy intruder who satisfies his savage hungers, not on the city streets, but in the sanctity of people’s homes. He shows no mercy because he has none to give… He is Richard Ramirez. The Night Stalker. Ten years after the horrific spree that left thirteen people dead and paralyzed in the city of Los Angeles, his name is synonymous with Satanism, torture and sadistic murder. Yet despite the sensational nature of his crimes, no one has ever been able to tell the complex story of the charismatic man millions call the devil himself… until now.
And nobody has made this complex story into a movie… at least until this summer. That’s when the NY Post say Franco will start production.
The film has been written by Nicolas Constantine, who is also producing alongside sometime Bond-theme singer, Chris Cornell. They took the project to Franco after seeing some of his short films. Constantine says:
This isn’t a horror film, nor does it glorify Ramirez in any wayJames Franco shares that vision, and we all agree that he is absolutely the one actor, and now director, who can truly do this very intense role and story justice…
We watched three short films he made, two of which were dark and one of which was about a serial killer. That confirmed James definitely had this dark side, and it definitely sealed the deal for us. Sure enough, James read the material and responded to it immediately.
The short “serial killer” film in question would be Herbert White, which starred Michael Shannon in the title role. I’m still waiting for the film to arrive on DVD or the internet, having missed all of its festival screenings last year.
Let’s wait and see if The Night Stalker is indeed the next project on Franco’s plate. He’s got a lot to be getting on with, and it’s never entirely clear what’s going to get into production until it’s actually in production.