James Franco‘s directorial career hasn’t been lacking in production, with the notoriously hyper-creative 34-year-old artist having delivered two features — The Broken Tower and Sal — within the past year. For most of us, though, it’s his high-profile literary adaptations that we’re most eager to hear more about, but it’s been a discouragingly tough road for both of them.

We first got wind of these passion projects back in January 2011, when we announced that big-screen versions of William Faulkner‘s As I Lay Dying and Cormac McCarthy‘s Blood Meridian were both on the somewhat immediate horizon for Franco. (Later that same day, we got direct confirmation from the actor himself.) In only a few short weeks after that, Franco revealed his personal dream castMichael Shannon, Paul Dano, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Jenkins — for the As I Lay Dying adaptation, and also dropped the possibility of a start date sometime during the summer of 2011.

Clearly, that didn’t pan out. But this morning, courtesy of Showbiz411, we have a new timeframe to consider, as the report suggests that the As I Lay Dying “shoot is set for October in Mississippi.” There’s also a list of early cast members that, while perhaps not living up to the pedigree of Franco‘s dream team, isn’t too shabby in its own right — it includes Danny McBride, Tim Blake Nelson, Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Ahna O’Reilly and Jim Parrack. Franco will have a small role as well.

Hopefully this news sticks, because the confirmation of any kind of Faulkner adaptation — not to mention one helmed by someone as exciting as Franco — is worth celebrating. The question somewhat remains, however, of whether we’ll ever get a Franco-helmed Blood Meridian. To hold us over, though, we reported, surprisingly, that a Franco adaptation of McCarthy‘s Child of God was already “in production” in February of this year. The early goal was to get the film out to theaters by 2013, but with the unpredictability of movement with respect to all of these projects, it’s possible that the movie may take longer than that to be released.

We’ll continue to report on this as more news trickles in. At the very least, you can probably expect more cast members to be added before production gets underway on As I Lay Dying.

Are you glad that a start date has finally been announced for As I Lay Dying? How do you think it will turn out?

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