Following up on directing and starring in The Disaster Artist, the actor-director-screenwriter-producer-poet-professor (did we miss any?) James Franco will be taking another film project on his plate. It was recently announced that Franco will be directing and starring in an upcoming biopic on another multihyphenate virtuoso, Shel Silverstein. Silverstein was a poet-singer-songwriter-screenwriter-cartoonist who was most famous for his children’s books, particularly the tear-jerking classic, The Giving Tree. He also wrote collections of poetry for children, including The Light in the Attic, Where The Sidewalk Ends, and Falling Up. Wandering down memory lane, anyone?
It wasn’t all childlike innocence with Shel, though, and this upcoming film will surely show more sides to his story. It’s based on the Lisa Rogak’s book A Boy Named Shel, in-depth look into his paradoxical life. It includes a lot of fun, and tragic, facts about this iconoclasts’ life. When Shel wasn’t penning cutesy poems for kids, he was running around with Hugh Hefner and having frequent sleepovers at the Playboy Mansion. He worked for the magazine for over 20 years as a cartoonist and traveling correspondent.
Shel also moonlighted as a talented singer-songwriter, most famously writing a tune called A Boy Named Sue. You’ve probably heard the Johnny Cash version, but it’s got Shel written all over it, with the simple, whacky, cheeky lyrics.
Shel Silverstein also lived a life marked by tragedy. His wife died from complications in childbirth, and his daughter passed away while she was still a child. We can’t wait to see James Franco tackle the depth of Shel’s character, a playful, multitalented man with a taste for adventure, who went through more hardships than most but still brought smiles to millions with his words and art.