Whether one appreciates James Franco's more artistic cinematic pursuits or not, it's tough to deny that he's backed down from any challenges. As I Lay Dying, Child of God, In Dubious Battle, The Sound and the Fury, these are adaptations that Hollywood has been struggling to get off the ground that Franco managed to pull off. But his biggest challenge yet awaits in the form of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, and Franco has just landed a powerhouse cast to star.
Russell Crowe, Tye Sheridan, and Vincent D'Onofrio have joined the cast, with super-producer Scott Rudin backing the project. Franco will also take a role in the Western epic about a violent teenager known as "the kid" who falls in with a gang of scalp hunters in the 19th century. He also encounters the mysterious and undeniably evil Judge Holden, who is about as close to an antagonist as the story gets. While it hasn't been specified we can probably expect Crowe to play Holden with Sheridan as "the kid", although there may be more casting yet to come.
For Crowe this continues a busy streak that saw him recently join The Mummy cast alongside Tom Cruise. He also has Shane Black's comedy The Nice Guys in which he'll co-star with Ryan Gosling. Franco is currently working on his first major studio effort as a director, The Disaster Artist, about the making of cult favorite, The Room.