HomeArts & LitTop 10 References to Faulkner in Pop Culture

Top 10 References to Faulkner in Pop Culture

Compiled by Alex DeJoy, University of Mississippi student and Deep South intern

1. Actor James Franco is working on a film version of “As I Lay Dying.” News on the film has been scarce, but Franco has mentioned wanting to cast Joaquin Phoenix. We’re wondering if he’s going to stay true to the book and cast 15 narrators.

2. In Woody Allen’s 2011 award-winning film “Midnight in Paris,” Inez, played by Rachel McAdams, tells Gil, played by Owen Wilson, to stop living in the past. His response is,”The past is never dead. It’s not even past. And you know who said that? William Faulkner! I met him the other night, too.”

3. In Tim McGraw’s song, “Southern Voice,” from his 2009 album of the same name, the opening line goes: “Hank Williams sang it, Number 3 drove it, Chuck Berry twanged it, Will Faulkner wrote it.”

4. The Coen brothers’ 1991 film “Barton Fink” features a Southern writer who has a strong resemblance to William Faulkner. Like Faulkner, Barton Fink has a heavy drinking problem and goes to Hollywood to try and earn enough money to live.

5. While in Hollywood, Faulkner wrote screenplays for timeless movies like “The Big Sleep,” starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and “The Long, Hot Summer,” with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

6. Heavy metal band As I Lay Dying gets its namesake from the popular Faulkner novel. According to the band, there is no correlation between the band and the book title, they just really liked the way it sounded.

7. Founded by Faulkner’s niece, the Faux Faulkner Contest was held 16 times by Yoknapatawpha Press until 2005. Each year, people from around the world would submit stories to parody Faulkner’s writing style in 500 words or less.

8. On a 2001 episode of “The Family Guy,” Brian moves to Hollywood to become a famous screenwriter. When his family visits, he takes them to a restaurant called Musso & Frank’s for dinner and says, “Ya know, Musso & Frank’s is famous. See that bar over there? Great writers like Hemingway and Faulkner drank there.”

Gosford_Park_movie9. In the 2001 movie “Gosford Park,” the Hollywood producer character is reading “Light in August” before he goes to bed.

10. Faulkner is quoted in the classic 1980s film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” when the assistant principal consoles Ferris’s girlfriend over the death of her grandmother by saying, “Between grief and nothing, I’ll take grief.”

Honorable Mention: Hunter Murphy included Isaac “Ike” McCaslin and General Compson in Faulkner’s “Go Down, Moses” in his list of “The Greatest Bromances in Literature” for us earlier this year.

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