Tuesday, May 5, 2015

James Franco directing The Long Home starring Josh Hutcherson


I'm home. We left sunny South Florida behind — it won't be sunny for long, SoFlo's rainy season runs from June through October — and arrived home from our ten day trip late last night. Our son picked us up at LAX and at first glance I almost didn't recognize the young man behind the wheel. He's been working sixteen hours a day, writing a script. Sporting a beard and a beanie pulled down over his hair, he looked it. I hope that like James Franco, my writer/director son finds success that's meaningful to him, earlier in life than later. Like most writers, he has that inborn need to write regardless of outcome. 

So it was with William Gay who was almost sixty when he published his first novel, The Long Home in 1999. He died at age seventy with a handful of well-respected novels and short stories, all in the southern gothic tradition, to his name. And now that first novel is being adapted for the screen with James Franco directing. Josh (Hunger Games) Hutcherson will star as a young carpenter, Nathan Winer, who finds himself working for the man who killed his father. Tim Blake Nelson is Thomas Hovington, father of Amber Rose (Paola Baldion) the young woman Winer falls in love with. Courtney Love has just joined the cast as Hovington's wife, Pearl. 

Here's the story by William Gay, adapted by Vince Jolivette and Steve Janas for the screen.
In a literary voice that is both original and powerfully unsettling, William Gay tells the story of Nathan Winer, a young and headstrong Tennessee carpenter who lost his father years ago to a human evil that is greater and closer at hand than any the boy can imagine - until he learns of it first-hand. Gay's remarkable debut novel, The Long Home, is also the story of Amber Rose, a beautiful young woman forced to live beneath that evil who recognizes even as a child that Nathan is her first and last chance at escape. And it is the story of William Tell Oliver, a solitary old man who watches the growing evil from the dark woods and adds to his own weathered guilt by failing to do anything about it. Set in rural Tennessee in the 1940s, The Long Home will bring to mind once again the greatest Southern novelists and will haunt the reader with its sense of solitude, longing, and the deliverance that is always just out of reach.
The film is in pre-production now with a release planned for 2017. Late in life success stories like these make me hope there really is a heaven; I'd like to think of William Gay looking down, happy to know his work is gaining a whole new audience. As for you, got a script idea in your back pocket? A shitty first draft of a novel locked in a drawer? It's never too late. 



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