James Franco Seeks $500,000 in Crowdfunding for 'Palo Alto Stories' Trilogy

James Franco
Fabrizio Maltese

James Franco spoke to THR about his adaptation of William Faulkner’s novel about an impoverished Mississippi family. "Its essence is something that was relevant 80 years ago and is relevant today and was relevant 2,000 years ago," he said. The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section.

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The star has called upon several young filmmakers to adapt his book for the big screen.

James Franco is the latest Hollywood big shot to set his sights on crowdfunding, seeking $500,000 from backers on Indiegogo.

The star is hoping to adapt his own book of short stories, titled Palo Alto, into a trilogy of films: Memoria, Killing Animals and Yosemite. Franco’s post states that all profits made from the films will go to the nonprofit Art of Elysium, which encourages working artists to voluntarily dedicate their time to children who are battling serious medical conditions.

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Franco has enlisted the help of several up-and-coming filmmakers -- Nina Ljeti, Vladimir Bourdeau, Bruce Thierry Cheung and Gabrielle Demeestere -- to adapt several of his short stories into film. It is unclear whether Franco himself will appear in or direct any of the films.

“Although it is a book of fiction, it was inspired by experiences that I had growing up here,” Franco says in a video. “Generally I see it as a book that is supposed to touch on universal things about being a teenager, and coming of age, and learning about the bigger world.”

Crowdsourcing has reached near epidemic levels in Hollywood, spurred by the success of Veronica Mars and quickly followed by Zach Braff’s Garden State follow-up. In exchange for donating money to a project, backers are promised certain rewards for various levels of generosity. For $450, donors will receive a personal voicemail from Franco, and for $7,000, an original painting from the star (as made infamous by the newly released This Is the End).