Golden Globe-nominated James Franco will make his directorial debut for the dark thriller The Night Stalker. Franco will also star as film’s serial killer and rapist, Richard Ramirez, who went on a murdering rampage throughout Southern California in the 1980′s.
“This isn’t a horror film, nor does it glorify Ramirez in any way,” Nicolas Constantine, The Night’s Stalker’s screenwriter said to the New York Post. “James Franco shares that vision, and we all agree that he is absolutely the one actor, and now director, who can truly do this very intense role and story justice.
The Night Stalker is based on author Philip Carlo’s book “The Night Stalker,” which documents the disturbing events of the Ramirez and how he became a murderer and rapist. In 1985, Ramirez terrorized Southern California and was found guilty of 13 counts of murder, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries. He is currently on death row.
“I had no idea if he would do it, though, since it’s pretty dark subject matter,” Constantine said. “They told me he was studying to be a director and this was perfect for him. We watched three short films he made, two of which were dark and one of which was about a serial killer. That confirmed James definitely had this dark side, and it definitely sealed the deal for us. Sure enough, James read the material and responded to it immediately.”
Chris Cornell from the band Soundgarden will co-produce the movie with Constantine.
Franco, star of 127 Hours and student at Yale, also agreed to direct the adaptations of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” and Cormac McCarthy’s “Western Blood Meridian.”