By Bill Cantwell
---- — Hollywood star James Franco has backed out of directing and starring in a movie based on a book by local writer Andre Dubus.
Franco was slated to start working this summer on a movie based on the best-selling novel "The Garden of Last Days'' written by Dubus, who grew up in Haverhill and now lives in Newbury.
But today it was announced that Franco was pulling out of the project.
Dubus said Franco's decision had to do with "artistic differences.'' Dubus said he is hopeful the company looking to make the movie will find a replacement for Franco, allowing the movie to eventually happen.
The book is based on the terrorist events of Sept. 11, 2001. In it, Dubus spins the tale of a man who plans to hijack a plane and his personal relationships, including with an exotic dancer, before the terrorist plot unfolds.
Dubus' previous best-selling novel "House of Sand and Fog'' was made into a movie featuring star actors Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly.
A full report will appear in Saturday's edition of The Eagle-Tribune.