Trailer: Cormac McCarthy's 'Child of God'

AFP Relax News
Video screenshot: Scott Haze menaces in the "Child of God" trailer

The grim and gritty fiction of Cormac McCarthy returns to cinema under the guidance of director James Franco.

A frequent Franco collaborator, "Child of God" lead Scott Haze becomes Lester Ballard, a tormented and marginalized man prone to violent, disturbed behavior.

Joining him are Tim Blake Nelson ("Detachment," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?") as Sheriff Fate and Jim Parrack ("True Blood") as the deputy; both Nelson and Parrack appeared in 2013 Cannes selection "As I Lay Dying," which had Franco in the lead role as well as the director's and writer's chairs.

In Haze's view, the film is "a story that really examines a human condition that we all have experienced at some point in our lives," as he told Variety at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. "Is there shocking elements to it? I'm sure. But if you look at 'No Country For Old Men,' there's some shocking stuff in that too."

"Nobody loves this guy," was Haze's understated characterization.

Haze himself went through a period of weight loss, moving into an isolated cabin and then a cave as part of his preparation for the role, and was able to observe how his psyche responded to prolonged social and nutritional deprivation.

He'd told an audience at the Venice International Film Festival that his characterization was inspired not just by the people he met during prep time, but also by Heath Ledger's Joker in "The Dark Knight" and Robert De Niro's Travis Bickle from "Taxi Driver" as he looked for ways to bring Ballard to life.

"Child of God" is due a limited theatrical release in the US from August 1, with a home retail version arriving October 28.

"Child of God" trailer: