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James Franco, known for his roles in Milk and the Spider-Man series as well as the cult favorite TV show Freaks and Geeks, was accepted into Yale's English Ph.D. program. The actor is currently wrapping up his MFA in Writing at Columbia University and has an undergraduate degree in English from UCLA.
He’s played a hiker who amputates his own arm, a mover and shaker of the Beat generation, and now, James Franco is slated to play an evil serial killer.
Page Six says that Franco will also direct the movie version of Phillip Carlo’s “The Night Stalker” during a hiatus from earning his doctorate at Yale (among his many other pursuits). The screenplay was co-produced by Chris Cornell and Nicolas Constantine of the band Soundgarden, in turn based off a book by Phillip Carlo. The band members have also proved to be multi-talented; Constantine penned the screenplay.
The story is about a Southern California man named Richard Ramirez who, in 1985, went on a murderous rampage. Ramirez was later convicted to 13 counts of murder, five attempted murders, and eleven counts of sexual assault.
“Phil Carlo painted such an amazing portrait of Richard Ramirez,” Constantine said. “Sure, Ramirez was a monster—but Phil investigated how he became that monster, and that’s what this film is about.”
But Constantine wasn't confident that the ubiquitous Franco would want to direct a film like this, as the subject matter is so sinister.
“I had no idea if he would it it, though, since it’s pretty dark subject matter.” After seeing three short films that Franco directed, Constantine had a better understanding of Franco’s work.
“[The films] confirmed James definitely had this dark side, and it definitely sealed the deal for us.”