It’s been a busy day for A24 Films. Fresh from acquiring U.S. distribution rights to 2015 Tribeca Film Festival standout Mojave, the distributor (along with partner DirecTV) grabbed another film that made its world premiere at the New York-based film festival: The Adderall Diaries. Based on the 2009 true-crime memoir of the same name by Stephen Elliott, The Adderall Diaries stars Oscar nominee James Franco, and was written and directed by Pamela Romanowsky. There isn’t word yet on when a theatrical release will occur, but the film will first premiere on VOD, courtesy of DirecTV.
The Adderall Diaries relates the story of Stephen Elliot (Franco), a troubled, drug-addicted writer who starts becoming more and more obsessed with the murder trial of a man who allegedly killed his ex-wife. So much so, he decides to write a book about it while at the same time falling for a female reporter who is covering the trial. Amber Heard (The Danish Girl), Wilmer Valderrama (Fast Food Nation), Christian Slater (Nymphomaniac), Ed Harris (Snowpiercer) and Cynthia Nixon (Rampart) round out the eclectic supporting cast.
Reaction to The Adderall Diaries was sharply mixed. The biggest critic may well be Stephen Elliott himself, who claimed the film was such a deviation for his memoir and questioned “why calling the character Stephen Elliott was necessary.” Then again, criticism about films based upon real events are nothing new in show business (look at films like Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game and American Sniper for three recent examples). Variety‘s Guy Lodge sussed that the film was “jumbled,” however.
If nothing else, The Adderall Diaries is yet another entry in the Franco canon. Currently, Franco is starring opposite This Is the End co-star Jonah Hill, and recent Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) in the Fox Searchlight crime drama True Story, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, as did another Franco-headlined drama called I Am Michael. That film co-stars Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), and revolves around a former gay activist whose homosexuality is “cured” after turning to fait – the film is still awaiting U.S. distribution. He also headlined the Wim Wenders’ 3-D drama Every Thing Will Be Fine co-starring Charlotte Gainsbourg (Melancholia) and Rachel McAdams (A Most Wanted Man), and co-stars in Werner Herzog’s bio Queen of the Desert starring Nicole Kidman; both films had their world premiere at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival. As per usual, that’s only the tip of the iceberg for projects Franco is attached to in some capacity.