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May 1, 2013

Author's novel to become movie

James Franco stars in second film made from Dubus book

NEWBURY — Author Andre Dubus III said he never envisioned actor James Franco in the role of a main character in his novel, “The Garden of Last Days.”

Dubus said Franco is better looking than the book’s character AJ, a man estranged from his family who is thrown out of a nightclub for breaking a rule by holding hands with his favorite exotic dancer.

Not only is Franco going to star in the movie adaptation of Dubus’ 2008 novel, but he’ll be directing it too.

“I admire him as an actor, but I wouldn’t have thought of him as he’s so good looking, and AJ is not a good looking man in my story,” Dubus said. “But, I think he can pull it off. It’s the inner truth he can convey and I’m confident Franco can do that.”

“Garden of Last Days’’ will be made into a movie this summer, said Dubus, who grew up in Haverhill and has lived in Newburyport and Newbury for the last several years. This is the second of his books to be made into a movie. In 2003, Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly starred in the movie version of Dubus’ novel “House of Sand and Fog.’’

There has also been talk in literary and Hollywood circles that his best-selling memoir “Townie’’ — the story of him growing up on the tough streets of Haverhill — will also be made into a movie.

Dubus said he began writing “The Garden of Last Days’’ in 2005, after reading a story about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist hijackers — how one of them was rumored to have visited a strip club in the days leading up to the attacks.

“How could they be so extremist in their interpretation of Islam as to commit mass murder then go to a fallen place like a strip club before they attack?” Dubus asked himself. “What fueled the writing of the novel was what if you’re a woman who danced for one of these hijackers unwittingly, and then after the smoke has cleared from that horrible day of 9/11, you have some of their blood money in your bank account. What would that be like?”

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