CANNES, France--Even by the standards of 20th-century postmodernists, William Faulkner is considered a difficult, if not unfilmable, moviemaking challenge. His sentences can be fractured, his action can be interior and his points-of-view often splatter in 10 different directions.
So of course
The prolific star turned out to the
PHOTOS: Cannes Film Festival 2013
In an interview at the festival, Franco said he had a longstanding love of Faulkner ever since he read "As I Lay Dying" more than a decade ago. And his experience making an inherently difficult movie about the poet Hart Crane -- "we wanted it to be obtuse because the poetry is obtuse," he said of his movie "The Broken Tower" -- showed him that even the master from Mississippi was a possibility.
But it took an unlikely secondhand encounter with an activist celebrity to seal the deal.
"When I did "
But legal maneuvering was only the beginning. The big challenge lay with making an abstract novel visual. Franco said he looked to several places to pull it off.
CHEAT SHEET: Cannes Film Festival 2013
"There was a key to the movie that came from the book," he said. "Faulkner works on multiple levels, and on one level I saw this as a really simple story: a road movie about a family and the obstacles they face."
And the other level, the one with shifts in perspective and other unconventional devices?
"[Director Robert] Altman had talked about that because he's a man who used multiple characters and complex structures," Franco said. "And he said as long as he has a through line like a road movie, he can hang very complex concepts and approaches on it. So I thought 'Great. I'll do that.'"
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