Of course James Franco is directing and starring in a film adaptation of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. OF COURSE he is. What? Did you expect the actor/poet/student/performance artist to create a movie that's plot isn't based on the inner monologues of fifteen different characters who are all either crazy, too young to comprehend what's happening around them or dead? Don't get me wrong. As I Lay Dying is actually my favorite book that I've ever read — it just seems nearly impossible to pull off as a film. If Franco manages (and maybe he will!), we have all severely underestimated him as a filmmaker.
One thing I'll say in the film's favor before even seeing it — Tim Blake Nelson as Anse and Beth Grant (who you think you don't know, but you definitely know) as Addie are inspired casting choices. Also Jewel is played by Trey Atwood from The OC, which is its own thing entirely.
James Franco is not in the box. James Franco does not make movies like that. James Franco is a fish.