James Franco, embodiment of all that which is Franco, has signed on to direct and star in The Night Stalker, an adaptation of the late Philip Carlo’s true-crime chronicle about the Satan-and-AC/DC-obsessed serial killer who terrorized Southern California in the mid-’80s with a string of sexual assaults and murders. According to screenwriter Nicolas Constantine—who’s co-producing the project with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell—Night Stalker will explore the more human side of Richard Ramirez and “how he became that monster,” which is what apparently drew Franco to the project. That agreement over the story’s overall vision and general Franconess convinced Constantine that Franco is “absolutely the one actor, and now director, who can truly do this very intense role and story justice.” He is, in other words, the Franco.
Also convincing: A screening of Franco’s “three short films” that he’s directed, “two of which were dark and one of which was about a serial killer.” (We’re guessing the other two were the one where Franco wanders Paris with a prosthetic dick on his nose, and “The Feast Of Stephen,” where a young boy’s homoerotic fantasies during a pick-up basketball game end with someone shitting on his face.) And although that work has already earned Franco the confidence needed to tackle William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, the New York Post is (incorrectly) calling The Night Stalker Franco’s “directing debut” and adds that it starts shooting this summer during his break from Yale, which suggests Franco might be putting this one before those recently rumored adaptations. It also suggests that any day now, Franco will unveil plans for his multiplatform exploration of “playing a serial killer,” and that’s when the corpses will start turning up. And the blood, hot and angry, will hiss, “Francooooo.”