Roger Avary to Pen Adaptation of William Faulkner’s Crime Novel SANCTUARY

     June 29, 2011


Cops producer John Langley has tapped Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary to pen an adaptation of William Faulkner’s 1931 crime novel SanctuaryDeadline reports that Ali exec producer Lee Caplin will co-produce with Langley.  The book was adapted back in 1933 as The Story of Temple Drake, but the plot had to be readjusted to adhere to the Production Code, and there’s a lot to readjust.  The story involves rape, murder, abduction, and other brutal acts set against the backdrop of the American South during Prohibition.

Avary’s last produced screenplay was 2007’s Beowulf and his career was slightly way-laid when he pled guilty to a vehicular manslaughter charge in 2009 and while he was at first given a work furlough and five years probation, he was dumb enough to complain about it on Twitter and as a result was sent to jail to serve out the remainder of his sentence.  He was released last July.  Personal problems aside, Avary is an interesting screenwriter who has no trouble tapping into the ugliness of characters and their situations and he sounds like a perfect fit for this adaptation.  Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel.

Here’s a synopsis for William Faulkner’s Sanctuary:

First published in 1931, this classic psychological melodrama has been viewed as more of a social document in his tragic legend of the South than mere story. From Popeye, a moonshining racketeer with no conscience and Temple Drake, beautiful, bored and vulnerable, to Harace Benbow, a lawyer of honor and decency wishing for more in his life, and Gowan Stevens, college student with a weakness for drink, Faulkner writes of changing social values and order. A sinister cast peppered with social outcasts and perverts perform abduction, murder, and mayhem in this harsh and brutal story of sensational and motiveless evil.

Students of Faulkner have found an allegorical interpretation of “Sanctuary” as a comment on the degradation of old South’s social order by progressive modernism and materialistic exploitation. Popeye and his co-horts represent this hurling change that is corrupting the historic traditions of the South, symbolized by Horace Stevens, which are no longer able to protect the victimized Negro and poor white trash due to middle-class apathy and inbred violence. [Amazon]


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