A Few Impressions

James Franco’s ‘Blood Meridian’ Test

By James Franco

 

In honor of Child of God’s release on August 1, I’m posting a 25-minute test I did for the film version of Blood Meridian. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, is my favorite novel. It marks the midpoint of McCarthy's career, between the Southern Gothic stories of his Tennessee days (he grew up in Tennessee and went to high school with painter Josh Smith) and his later border-based stories (The Border Trilogy, No Country for Old Men, The Road) after he moved to Texas and then to New Mexico.

In some ways Blood seems un-filmable. It is almost Biblical in its prose. His terse prose utilizes vocabulary only found in the crannies of annals of the Old West and the specialized spheres of working men. He captures the slang of forgotten peoples so deftly, it’s as if they were his barroom friends.

I made my test for Blood Meridian three or four years ago. It stars Scott Glenn, Luke Perry, Mark Pellegrino (Lost), and my brother, Dave. We shot it in three days in some place near Yosemite that is the mule capital of the world. If you know the book, you’ll recognize that this is the sequence where Tobin recounts how the Glanton gang met the Judge, a Satan-like character and Glanton's right-hand man. The gang was out of gunpowder and about to be caught by Apache warriors, whereupon they would be killed for lack of working weaponry. Enjoy.

 

Comments