Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: James Franco, whose film As I Lay Dying screens in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes next month, has locked in his next directorial outing. He’ll helm and play a starring role in Garden of Last Days, an adaptation of the bestselling book by House Of Sand And Fog author Andre Dubus III. Shooting will begin July 8 in New York. Millennium Films is financing.

The film is being produced by Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Danielle Robinson and Hanna Weg. Weg, who scripted the Michael Apted-directed Enigma, wrote the script. Longtime Franco collaborators Vince Jolivette and Miles Levy will also produce. Pic is a contemporary thriller set in the seamy underside of American life about three interwoven and ultimately explosive stories: A stripper out of options who brings her 3-year-old daughter to work; an angry, lonely man who gets thrown out of the club; and a foreigner with an endless supply of cash on the brink of committing a terrifying act. Dubus set the novel around 9/11, but gave his blessing to set the film in present day New York. This movie fills up the spring & summer calendar for Franco. After Cannes, he will star in Good People opposite Kate Hudson and Omar Sy. And then he will direct Garden of Last Days. Franco is repped by CAA and James/Levy Management.

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