Blood Meridian is back on the shelf. A proposed film adaptation of the acclaimed Cormac McCarthy novel that would have paired director-actor James Franco and star Russell Crowe is no longer moving forward, a source confirms to EW.
Deadline first reported Thursday morning that a package featuring Franco, Crowe, Tye Sheridan, and Vincent D’Onofrio, as well as producers Scott Rudin, Cassian Elwes, and Vince Jolivette, was to be shopped at the upcoming Cannes film market. According to the updated reported, however, rights to the novel had not been secured.
Although Blood Meridian is widely regarded as one of the finest American novels of the past few decades, it has long been considered unfilmable. Like McCarthy’s other works that have been adapted for screen — The Road, No Country for Old Men — it is a deep and unflinching look into the dark, violent side of America.
Nevertheless, Franco has been trying to get a film version going for several years, even releasing a 30-minute screen test starring Scott Glenn, Luke Perry, Mark Pellegrino, and Dave Franco.
Franco told EW in a 2011 interview, “We made [the screen test] as a way to convince Scott Rudin to give us the rights. It was like, why should he give it to me when Ridley Scott didn’t make it? So I called him up and said, ‘I’m planning on doing this. You don’t have to give me any money, I can finance this shoot. Would you just wait? Don’t do anything with it until I show this to you.’ And I showed it to him and he loved it.”