Update: James Franco has confirmed his involvement with the projects below. Read his story here.

James Franco is kicking 2011 off with a bang. The prolific actor, writer, artist, and grad student is prepping his first two studio directorial debuts. He has already wrapped production on his true indie debut The Broken Tower about the poet Hart Crane, but he has eyes set for bigger productions. The 2011 Oscar co-host (and contender for his performance in 127 Hours) is planning to make his first studio debut with William Faulkner‘s classic As I Lay Dying, Showbiz reports.

The actor has previously stated it is one of his favorite novels and along with his manager Miles Levy, they have “a commitment from Fox Searchlight to bring the project to fruition.” While we have reported many, many projects Franco has been attached to, he is most dedicated to this one and wants to begin production “next spring.”

The 1930 novel is told “in a stream of consciousness writing style by 15 different narrators in 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family’s quest and motivations—noble or selfish—to honor her wish to be buried in the town of Jefferson.”

Completely out of left field, James Franco also told Showbiz, that he is currently “in the process” of negotiating a deal with the equally prolific producer Scott Rudin “to write and direct Cormac McCarthy‘s Blood Meridian in 2012.” This long-rumored adaptation would be the fourth adaptation after All the Pretty Horses, The Road,  and No Country for Old Men.

We even reported last week that Michael Haneke was once attached. Todd Field and Ridley Scott were also rumored to direct. It’s a bit shocking that they would give Franco a property as hot as this one when he is just starting to direct, but we will keep you posted for updates.

The 1985 novel “follows a teenage runaway referred to only as “the kid”, with the bulk of the text devoted to his experiences with the Glanton gang, a historical group of scalp hunters who massacred Indians and others on the United States–Mexico borderlands in 1849 and 1850. The role of antagonist is gradually filled by Judge Holden, an extremely large, albino and intelligent man devoted to violence and conflict.”

If all this isn’t enough for Franco, he is also finishing up degrees at Yale University and the Rhode Island School of Design, while he plans to bring “his art project film connected to the ’80s sitcom, Three’s Company, to the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontiers section later this month.”

What do you think of Franco directing these two projects? Can you see it actually happening?

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