Now that James Franco has made his big directing break with The Disaster Artist, a movie about the true story behind Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic The Room, he’s set his sights on a new project about the life and struggles of writer and musician Shel Silverstein, the author behind – among many others – Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic, and The Missing Piece.
According to Variety, the movie will focus “not only on his struggles professionally, but personally as well, and trace how he became the iconic author he is today.”
James Franco has always had a penchant for exploring eccentric or reserved personalities in his movies. Despite what we know about Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist reveals a much more contemplative side to the enigmatic figure behind the best worst movie of all time. With Shel Silverstein, I get the feeling that a lot more people know his work than they do his personality or his life. Between the poems and the screenplays and the songs, Silverstein had a hand in so many things you wouldn’t expect, including the fact that he wrote “A Boy Named Sue,” one of Johnny Cash’s best songs.
The upcoming film will be written by Chris Shafer and Paul Vicknair, a writing team whose only credits include two non-Marvel movies starring Chris Evans that were released in 2014. The first, Before We Go, was Chris Evans’ directorial debut. The other, Playing it Cool, is a similarly themed romantic dramedy co-starring Evans and Michelle Monaghan. Both are terrible. That said, Shafer and Vicknair are currently writing the live-action Naruto, which will be helmed by The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey.
Franco’s Silverstein movie is an adaptation of A Boy Named Shel by Lisa Rogak, and the description of that book reveals:
Few authors are as beloved as Shel Silverstein. His inimitable drawings and comic poems have become the bedtime staples of millions of children and their parents, but few readers know much about the man behind that wild-eyed, bearded face peering out from the backs of dust jackets.
In A Boy Named Shel, Lisa Rogak tells the full story of a life as antic and adventurous as any of his creations. A man with an incurable case of wanderlust, Shel kept homes on both coasts and many places in between—and enjoyed regular stays in the Playboy Mansion. Everywhere he went he charmed neighbors, made countless friends, and romanced almost as many women with his unstoppable energy and never-ending wit.
His boundless creativity brought him fame and fortune—neither of which changed his down-to-earth way of life—and his children’s books sold millions of copies. But he was much more than “just” a children’s writer. He collaborated with anyone who crossed his path, and found success in a wider range of genres than most artists could ever hope to master. He penned hit songs like “A Boy Named Sue” and “The Unicorn.” He drew cartoons for Stars & Stripes and got his big break with Playboy. He wrote experimental plays and collaborated on scripts with David Mamet. With a seemingly unending stream of fresh ideas, he worked compulsively and enthusiastically on a wide array of projects up until his death, in 1999.
Drawing on wide-ranging interviews and in-depth research, Rogak gives fans a warm, enlightening portrait of an artist whose imaginative spirit created the poems, songs, and drawings that have touched the lives of so many children—and adults.
The Disaster Artist is in theaters now.
Images: A24, Poetry Foundation, HarperCollins, Genius
Source: Geek Tyrant