In 1930, future Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner published As I Lay Dying, a multi-vocal novel about the death and burial of a matriarch. Some eighty years later, Yale graduate student James Franco decided to make a film from that novel.
Inevitably, a movie tie-in version of the novel would be reissued. That was expected. The look of that reissue, however, was not. Thus, when Time Out New York's film critic Keith Uhlich tweeted the following, it received dozens of retweets and favorites, the vast, vast majority displaying dismay at Franco's shameless appropriation of a literary masterpiece.
Flavorwire's Jason Diamond expressed his dismay by writing, "The James Franco As I Lay Dying Book Cover Ruined Our Day," while Slate asked, "Is This the Worst Movie Tie-In Book Cover Ever?"
David Haglund of the latter aptly pointed out, "In case you’re wondering: No, As I Lay Dying is not a memoir, and it is not by James Franco. And William Faulkner, though he did have a mustache, wasn’t quite so hunky."
When The Atlantic Wire asked Uhlich why he was so dismayed by the cover, he answered, simply, "Franco. Always Franco," a response he had given over Twitter as well. He added that he would "leave it at that."
We understand. Last month, Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin begged Franco to "please stop" dabbling in literature as a mere means for self promotion. Quite apparently, that is not advice Franco is likely to heed.