Southern literature scholar Michael Bibler interviews James Franco about his new adaptation of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying:
Filmed on location in Faulkner’s northern Mississippi, the film follows the epic journey of the Bundren family as they battle flood, fire, injury, and insanity to bury the mother, Addie, in her hometown of Jefferson. The novel is told in a series of 59 monologues spoken by 19 characters, giving it the feel of both a fragmentary dramatic script and a series of internal meditations, making it exceedingly difficult to translate to other media. As Mr. Franco explains below, bringing the novel to film poses interesting opportunities and challenges for anyone trying to capture and reimagine both the peasant realism and the modernist surrealism of Faulkner’s self-proclaimed tour-de-force. The film has already generated a great deal of buzz and will no doubt be the subject of much discussion, academic and otherwise, in the years to come.