Jennifer Armstrong
June 09, 2009 AT 04:28 PM EDT

James Franco will next star in independent drama In Praise of Shadows, Variety reports. Production begins June 15 in New York City on the film written and directed by Jay Anania, the head of the directing program at NYU’s graduate film school — where Franco is working on a degree while also getting his master’s in English from Columbia University. The drama depicts the journey of a man who returns to New York after four years in exile to rescue the love of his life from a crime syndicate. Franco will shoot the film before heading to Ireland to star in comedy Your Highness with Danny McBride and Natalie Portman. Anania wrote and directed 2006’s Day on Fire.

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