What do James Franco and children’s book author and poet Shel Silverstein (“Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Giving Tree”) have in common? Well, they’re both mysteries to some extent — and now Franco will play Silverstein in a biopic.
The film will be based on the book “A Boy Named Shel” by Lisa Rogak, and it will center on Silverstein’s personal life (including his Jewish upbringing in Chicago) and professional struggles. Silverstein is the author of the classic children’s poetry collections, such as “Invitation”:
You may not have realized that Silverstein was also a regular cartoonist for Playboy between 1957 and 1968. Part of his job was traveling the world and sending dispatches back in the form of illustrations — and now those drawings have been compiled in a book with a foreword by Hefner. That’s some range!
A lotta people don’t know that Hef was friends with Shel Silverstein and paid to have him travel the world and mail back comics for Playboy. pic.twitter.com/SsGbt82mbo
— ʙʀʏᴀɴ✨ᴄʜᴏᴊɴᴏᴡsᴋɪ (@BryanInSpace) September 28, 2017
Franco also has a pretty impressive range. He got his start off the cult classic show, “Freaks & Geeks” and has since written several books, including a poetry book, a novel, a collection of short stories, and has received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia. Now there’s buzz that he could be up for an Oscar for his latest role in “The Disaster Artist.” That movie is a biographical comedy-drama film which chronicles the making of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult film “The Room,” which was critically panned (and has confused everyone who saw it, becoming an internet sensation and joke).
In a moment when we could all use a little more poetry, it seems like the perfect time for a movie on the man who made children love it.
And check out this excerpt from “The Giving Tree” on a tree stump in California: