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James Franco to Howl

Published February 20, 2009 in Casting Update
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of respective holders, Variety
James Franco James Franco
James Franco has fallen for the indies. Indie banner Werc Werk Works - nice name, right? -- to star in Howl. (updated with official release)

James Franco for Howl


It was announced today that indie production and finance shingle Werc Werk Works has come on board to produce and fully finance Howl, starring James Franco. The project is helmed by Academy Award® winning writer/director/producers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman of Telling Pictures and produced by Werc Werk Works CEO Elizabeth Redleaf and President Christine Walker. Multiple Academy Award® nominee Gus Van Sant serves as Executive Producer with Redleaf. The announcement was made today by Elizabeth Redleaf and Christine Walker.

The producing and financing agreement for Howl marks the third production for Werc Werk Works, which launched in August 2008 and is producing and financing Todd Solondz’s upcoming feature tentatively titled Forgiveness (a follow up to Happiness), which is currently in post-production, as well as Bella Tarr’s The Turin Horse, which is now in production.

Howl is a feature film about the obscenity trial of Allen Ginsberg’s groundbreaking poem, and the young poet who gained fame as a result. The filmmaking duo of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman wrote the screenplay and will jointly direct as well as produce alongside Redleaf and Walker.

Principal photography for Howl is slated to begin on March 16th in New York City.



Howl is a genre-expanding feature-length exploration of the courtroom drama of the obscenity trial over Allen Ginsberg’s poem, as well as an animated re-imagining of the poem making even more vivid Ginsberg’s extraordinary delivery of the poem. The film weaves three central themes (courtroom drama, context and creation, animation and performance) into an innovative dynamic narrative in which the events and images give viewers a visceral and completely unforgettable experience of the poem, the man who created it and the (still) reverberating after-effects of its birth. Ginsberg’s own words, drawn from interviews, journals and essays, narrate the story of his early years.

James Franco stars as Allen Ginsberg. Animation for the film is designed by illustrator Eric Drooker and the Animation Director is John Hays.

Said Redleaf, “Howl represents the breed of edgy and sophisticated film that we are concentrating on here at Werc Werk Works. When you have a gifted cast telling a remarkable story, the results are usually favorable for a wide audience. When the opportunity to bring this film to life arose, we knew we had to get involved. From the onset, there has been a great sense of collaboration between Rob, Jeffrey and Gus on this picture.”

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Sources: Image property of respective holders, Variety
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