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James Franco Brings Charles Bukowski’s ‘Ham on Rye’ to the movie screen


The Late -great Charles Bukowski is one of FNND’s favourite writers and  ‘Ham On Rye’ one of her favourite books – so we nearly fell off the bar stool when we heard that an adaptation of the book had been set to celluloid by The actor/director/producer, James Franco.

You may remember Mr James franco as the guy who sawed off his arm with a pen knife in Danny Boyle’s acclaimed 127 hours. Franco has been working alongside his up and coming younger brother actor Dave (Scrubs) in the adaption.

Dave Franco counts Bukowski as one of his favourite writers  and quoted in a recent interview;

Actor-come-director James Franco

Actor-come-director James Franco

“One of my favorite books of all time is ‘Ham On Rye’ by Charles Bukowski, which my brother  and I are actually adapting right now. It’s like a dream come true. Hopefully that will amount to  something. Definitely with Bukowski’s material, it’s pretty dark, and it’s not going to be a movie that appeals to wide audiences, but we love it so much.”

Charles Bukowski was a German born American poet, novelist and short story writer. He  was born on August 16, 1920 and passed away in 1994 afer a lengthy battle with leukemia.  Fat Nancy was first introduced to his to his first semi-autobiographical novel Post office… A  book written within a month of quitting the post office.


His gritty genre of writing labelled  dirty realism was honest and direct and he released nearly all of his writing on Black  Sparrow Press – a fiercely independent publisher who tried to support Bukowski in his times  of need… ‘Ham On Rye’ is loosely based on Bukowski’s younger years and coming of age  under his literary alter-ego, Henry Chinaski during the Great Depression in Los Angeles.


Bukowski is revered for his natural ability to write brashly about the human condition, ordinary people’s struggles and his complex love of alcohol and womanising. His unmatched dark humour and witty satire about the status quo and the American dream still has relevance in contemporary society highlighting the genius behind the simplicity in his writing. A truly gifted social renegade and poet who is not celebrated enough for his talent and extensive work.

The adaptation began shooting in Los Angeles on January 22, 2013 with Franco directing. The film is partially being shot in Oxford Square, a historic neighbourhood of Los Angeles.

James Franco on set of his debut movie.

James Franco on set of his debut movie.

We can’t wait and if you can’t wait either, FNND has kindly provided a list of films featuring Charles Bukowski;

  • Bukowski at Bellevue 1970 – Poetry Reading
  • Bukowski 1973 – Californian TV Documentary
  • Supervan 1977 – Feature Film (Not based on Bukowski’s work but Bukowski had cameo appearance as Wet T-Shirt Contest Water Boy)
  • There’s gonna be a goddam riot in here – Filmed: 1979; DVD Release: 2008 – Poetry Reading
  • The Last Straw – Filmed: 1980; DVD Release: 2008 – Poetry Reading
  • Tales of Ordinary Madness – Feature Film
  • Poetry in motion 1982 – General Poetry Documentary
  • Barfly 1987 – Feature Film – with a short cameo from the writer himself!
  • Crazy Love 1987 – Feature Film (Belgium)
  • Bukowski: Born Into This 2002 – Biographical Documentary
  • Factotum 2005 – Feature Film featuring Matt Dillon
  • The Suicide 2006 – Short film
  • One Tough Mother 2010 Released on DVD – Poetry Reading



  1. Pingback: Νέος Bukowski | the book paper Βιβλία, Ιδέες, Links

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