James Franco has directed far more movies than most people realise, and part of the reason many have gone under the radar is that that are small films with the only well-known name being behind the camera (and ended up with limited distribution).
However he’s thinking bigger with his Steinbeck adaptation In Dubious Battle, with THR reporting that Franco will star alongside Selena Gomez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Bryan Cranston and Danny McBride.
Published in 1936, In Dubious Battle is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Set in a fictionalized valley in California, the story explores themes Steinbeck continued to develop: group behavior, social injustice, man’s inhumanity to man— all themes which continue to be relevant today. A labor conflict between migrant apple pickers and the local growers’ association is the backdrop against which Jim Nolan (Franco) becomes involved in the labor movement and rapidly matures as he learns what it means to do organizational fieldwork.
It doesn’t exactly sound like the most thrilling of plots, but it was always one of Steinbeck’s skills, to make seemingly dull subject – quite often labour relations and the precarious position of manual labourers in a changing world – and make them interesting. Hopefully Franco will do the same. He’s certainly got a good cast to help him.
The movie will start shooting next month.