Sort of like a far artier Woody Allen, it seems a year doesn’t go by these days without a directorial effort from James Franco. And while his ambitions have been very high, the execution hasn’t always followed suit, and after taking on literary works by William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy, his next effort sees the writer/director/actor/producer tackling John Steinbeck.
“In Dubious Battle” lines up Franco, Vincent D’Onofrio, Selena Gomez, Ed Harris, Sam Shepard, Robert Duvall, Nat Wolff, Analeigh Tipton, and Bryan Cranston for the story of labor activism among farm workers in 1930s California. 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.”
Potentially potent stuff, but we’ll see how it turns out in the hands on Franco, and distributors are waiting too, as this one has no one signed on just yet. “In Dubious Battle” will screen at Venice and TIFF.