News Column

Franco Pulls Out of 'Garden of Last Days'

June 28, 2013


James Franco has apparently pulled out of a film that he was set to start shooting in Winston-Salem, just days before an open casting call was to be held in town.

As a result, the movie may not be made.

"The plug has been pulled on 'Garden of Last Days' so there will be NO auditions on Sunday!" Phil Newsome, one of the owners of Altair Casting and Production Services LLC in Winston-Salem, said in an email message to the media on Thursday afternoon.

Altair was to hold an open casting call Sunday for the film, which was scheduled to be shot in the Winston-Salem area next month and in August.

Deadline Hollywood, a movie industry news site, reported that Franco, who was scheduled to direct and co-star in the film, left the project Thursday, possibly after a disagreement with the financier over the crew he wanted to hire.

That move "effectively scraps a film that had $500,000 spent so far, a $3 million budget and a July 10 production start date," according to the Deadline report.

Calls to an office associated with the film were not immediately returned.

Initial news reports on national movie industry sites had the film being shot in the New York City area before the move to Winston-Salem was announced. The cast of the film was to include Emilia Clarke, one of the stars of HBO's "Game of Thrones."

Franco has been very busy lately. He stars in the apocalyptic comedy "This is the End," which is now in theaters, and directed and stars in the movie "As I Lay Dying," which made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival last month. He has several other films in the works. And on Monday, Franco started a crowdsourcing campaign at to help raise money for three movies based on stories from "Palo Alto," his 2011 collection of short stories.

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