James Franco will direct and star as Shel Silverstein in a film adaptation of Lisa Rogak’s A Boy Named Shel. The American writer and poet is known for a number of children’s books, including The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends, and the novel written about his life explores the author’s unyielding wanderlust (as well as his close relationship and history with Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Mansion).

Not unlike his stories, Silverstein was a man of adventure. But aside from the stories he wrote that were aimed at a younger audience, Silverstein traveled often, wooed women regularly, and was a firm believer in collaboration. In fact, the first collaboration that propelled him into ...

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