James Franco
survived the Golden Globes last night, without having to violently extricate himself from the scene like he did in '127 Hours.' That's good news for Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and writer Nicolas Constantine who have tapped the dynamic actor to star/direct the screen version of Philip Carol's 'The Night Stalker,' about serial killer Richard Ramirez. Cornell will co-produce Constantine's screenplay about the satanic murderer who is currently sitting on death row after his 1985 bloody rampage, which racked up three counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, 11 counts of sexual assault and 14 counts of burglary.

Carol's book was compiled after more than 100 hours of interviews with Ramirez and those closest to him. The result is a chilling and honest portrayal of a deeply disturbed man that delves into the evolution of Ramirez's broken psyche (Ramirez's relationship with his uncle is particularly telling). That's exactly what the filmmakers admired about the author's work, and they plan on focusing on this aspect for the screen.

"This isn't a horror film, nor does it glorify Ramirez in any way," Constantine said. "Phil Carlo painted such an amazing portrait of Richard Ramirez, the human being, and it's that which drew us all to the project. Sure, Ramirez was a monster -- but Phil investigated how he became that monster, and that's what this film is about." Sadly, the author recently lost his battle with Lou Gehrig's disease, but he was apparently impressed with the vision Cornell and Constantine had for his story which the men optioned last year.

Constantine wasn't sure if the young actor would be interested in such disturbing subject matter, until he watched three short films Franco made -- all of which explored darker, grittier subject matter. " ... That confirmed James definitely had this dark side, and it definitely sealed the deal for us. Sure enough, James read the material and responded to it immediately." Franco will start shooting the movie this summer during his break from Yale, where he's currently working on his English PhD. As we reported earlier this month, this isn't the only film Franco has lined up that will possibly put him behind the camera.

Aside from the obvious physical resemblance (which you can judge for yourself in the video about Ramirez below), what do you think about Franco making his mark on the directorial world as a killer?

[via NY Post]

VIDEO POSSIBLY NSFW