Franco to play real-life stalker in directing debut

New York: Actor James Franco is set to play satanic serial killer Richard Ramirez in the forthcoming movie ‘The Night Stalker’ based on Philip Carlo``s book of the same name.

The Golden Globe-nominated actor will also make his directing debut with the movie, which starts shooting this summer, reports the New York Post.

In 1985, Ramirez went on a rampage of sexual assault and murder, entering homes at night and generating fear throughout Southern California. He was later found guilty of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries.

The film will show how Ramirez, currently on death row in California, became a killer. It``s being co-produced by Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell and Nicolas Constantine, who also wrote the screenplay.

"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,” Constantine said.

"This isn`t a horror film, nor does it glorify Ramirez in any way.

"James Franco shares that vision, and we all agree that he is absolutely the one actor, and now director, who can truly do this very intense role and story justice.

"I had no idea if he would do it, though, since it``s pretty dark subject matter. They told me he was studying to be a director and this was perfect for him. We watched three short films he made, two of which were dark and one of which was about a serial killer.

“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," the singer added.

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