You would have been justified in thinking that a comic book Fight Club sequel would be the strangest (and most fucking fabulous) Chuck Palahniuk news that would come out this year, but you’d be half-wrong. James "I fit in all the labels" Franco has just bought up the option for Palahniuk’s bizarre 2007 novel Rant, with plans to bring it to the big screen. I seriously don’t think the world is ready for Buster Casey.
Putting aside the fact that Franco is doing something generally done by studio execs, one has to wonder what he’s doing with Rant, a story that is immensely different from those he has acted in and/or adapted in the past. The LitReactor story doesn’t mention whether Franco will direct, write, or star in the movie, but we can assume he will produce it.
Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey, if we’re getting formal, is the story of a guy who earned the vomit-influenced nickname Rant thanks to a particularly disgusting prank he pulled as a child. Though disturbing, the story is engrossing due to Palahniuk’s use of "oral" narratives given by many of the people who knew Rant during his relatively short life. He was the kind of kid who let venomous and rabid animals bite him, and he was the kind of adult who fell in with the Party Crashers, a group of decoration-loving car accident enthusiasts. In true Palahniuk fashion, the narrative jumps around and tackles difficult subject matter, but it's also a character study of someone who can’t even speak for themselves, which makes the book’s events all the more unsettling. There’s a particular incident involving a black spot on Rant’s wall that unnerves me to this day.
The novel is set both in a normal-sounding past and an eccentric future where the population is segregated into Daytimers and Nighttimers. And there are a lot of people, places and things happening during the ordeal that have always made me wary about Rant getting a straight adaptation. Choke was a fun movie and all, but it was a cheesecloth comparison to Palahniuk’s novel, and Franco’s involvement…well, I don’t know what to do with that besides love the guy for what he’s great at and stay optimistic.
Franco’s rather prolific cinematic streak over the past couple of years has included adaptations of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury, Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God and the currently filming Zeroville, from Steve Erickson’s novel. He also has the biopic of writer Charles Bukowski coming out at some point soon. He loves books, obviously – he even has his own, Hollywood Dreaming: Stories, Pictures and Poems, coming out later this month – but Chuck Palahniuk doesn’t just write books. He writes mostly unfilmable books. But if David Fincher could do it with Fight Club, why can’t Franco make Rant the movie that represents the millennials? Talk quietly amongst yourselves.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.