James Franco to Star in and Direct Shel Silverstein Biopic

After the successful launch of The Disaster Artist, James Franco is looking into another project that he can direct and star in. The 39-year-old actor is in talks to play author and cartoonist Shel Silverstein. The new biopic will be based on the book A Boy Named Shel, by Lisa Rogak. The script is to be written by Chris Shafer and Paul Vicknair.

Franco has proven his mad genius in The Disaster Artist, which he not only directed and starred in, but reportedly directed in character as the film's central hero, eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau. Franco himself is known for being something of a wild card, both on set and off.

The ivy-league educated actor has taken on a range of roles, from the highly dramatic, like 127 Hours, to the highly inane, like Sausage Party. He's also written screenplays, and a novel, and even teaches film classes at various universities.

With that in mind, it makes sense that Franco would be drawn to a figure like Shel Silverstein. Silverstein was best known as the author of several classic children's books, and he was also a prolific poet, artist, singer-songwriter and screenwriter. His journey was fraught with drama and irony, and his persona was famously quirky and blunt. He's exactly the kind of eccentric character Franco tends to play.

Franco already has a huge slate of projects coming up. He recently signed on at Fox to play Multiple Man in their X-Men universe of films. This will be Franco's big return to superheroes. He played Harry Osborne in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy — eventually evolving into the Green Goblin.