James Franco’s attempt to adapt Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian has been scuppered, and the reason sounds a little silly. While James Franco, who was due to both co-star and direct in the film, had already assembled an all-star ensemble for the film, which included Russell Crowe, it’s now been shelved because they had in fact failed to secure the rights to the novel. An issue that you’d assume would have been sorted at the very beginning of the project.

Rather embarrassingly, the revelation that Blood Meridian had been put on the back-burner came shortly after news of the proposed film had first been announced. Deadline had originally reported that Blood Meridian was going to be shopped around the Cannes Film Festival market, where it was thought that it would be one of the most appealing films available.

But it’s been alleged that the breaking news reports regarding Blood Meridian’s adaptation actually sabotaged and then halted the discussions between the rights owners for the Cormac McCarthy book and the cast. Earlier on in the day it had not only been announced that IM Global and CAA would handle the international sales and domestic rights, respectively, for Blood Meridian at Cannes, but it was also deliciously announced that Russell Crowe and James Franco would be starring in the film together, too.

But while the pairing of these two wonderfully intense actors was enough to immediately bring intrigue to Blood Meridian, especially since the source material was written by the Pulitzer Prize winning Cormac McCarthy, the fact that the cast was rounded off by Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) and Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World) made it seem even more appealing.

Blood Meridian was also shaping up rather nicely behind the scenes. Not only was the always improving James Franco in line to direct the film, but its producing team of Cassian Elwes, Vince Jolivette, and, in particular, Scott Rudin have a tremendous track record of sensational adaptations. Rudin has helped the likes of Steve Jobs, Moneyball, Revolutionary Road, True Grit, Doubt, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Social Network come to the big-screen.

The latest snag in the cinematic adaptation process for Blood Meridian leaves the project, once again, in limbo. Written in 1985, Blood Meridian is set in the 1850s on the Texas-Mexico border and revolves around the antics of a 14-yer-old Tennessean only known as the Kid, who finds himself embroiled with a gang of scalp-hunters that’s led by Judge Holden.

Ever since the success of the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men, another Cormac McCarthy book, studios have been looking to adapt the writer’s other novels. Blood Meridian has been in development for years. Which is why it’s a shame that, considering the talent attached and just how close it was to becoming a reality, this incarnation has now been shelved for such a ridiculous reason. Fingers crossed a solution can soon be found. Because everything about this proposed version of Blood Meridian seems perfect.

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