We've said it before, but ambition has never been James Franco's problem as a director. He's taken on adaptations that have stymied filmmakers far more experienced than him, and keeps coming back to try again even though the results have been pretty lousy. Now he's back with another challenging effort, John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle, and as a debut at TIFF looms closer the first images have arrived.
Franco pulls double-duty, directing and starring alongside Nat Wolff, Vincent D’Onofrio, Selena Gomez, Ed Harris, Zach Braff, Ahna O'Reilly, Josh Hutcherson, Danny McBride, Sam Shepard, Robert Duvall, Analeigh Tipton, Ashley Greene, and Bryan Cranston. The 1930s set drama follows an activist organizing a labor dispute for California apple pickers. Here's the synopsis:
In the California apple country, 900 migratory workers rise up against the landowners after getting paid a fraction of the wages they were promised. The group takes on a life of its own — stronger than its individual members and more frightening. Led by the doomed Jim Nolan, the strike is founded on his tragic idealism — on the “courage never to submit or yield.”
In Dubious Battle has yet to gain a distributor but Franco's been able to find support for his other films. No reason to think that will change here.