James Franco to direct, star in film about poet Shel Silverstein


(JTA) — Actor and director James Franco will direct and star in a film about children’s book author and poet Shel Silverstein.

The film, based on the book “A Boy Named Shel,” by Lisa Rogak, will focus on Silverstein’s personal life and professional struggles, Deadline Hollywood first reported.

Silverstein, who was born into a Jewish family and grew up in Chicago, is the author of the well-known children’s poetry collections “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Light in the Attic,” as well as the children’s book “The Giving Tree.”

He also illustrated his books and collections. Silverstein also was a singer-songwriter and screenwriter.

Franco, who is Jewish, is fresh off his latest success, “The Disaster Artist,” a biographical comedy-drama film that chronicles the making of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult film “The Room,” a critical flop that went on to become a cult classic. Franco and the film are reported to be in contention for several Oscars this year.

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