James Franco to play serial killer Richard Ramirez in ‘The Night Stalker’

'127 Hours' actor to adapt Philip Carlo's book

James Franco is to direct and star in a biopic of serial killer Richard Ramirez.

The film is to be called The Night Stalker and will be based on Philip Carlo‘s book of the same name about the notorious serial killer who was found guilty of murdering 13 people in Los Angeles during the 1980s.

One of the script’s co-writers, Nicholas Constantine, told the New York Post of Franco‘s involvement.

He said: “I had no idea if [Franco] would do it, though, since it’s pretty dark subject matter. They told me he was studying to be a director and this was perfect for him.”

He added: “We watched three short films he made, two of which were dark and one of which was about a serial killer. That confirmed James definitely had this dark side, and it definitely sealed the deal for us.”

Franco is nominated for an award at next month’s Oscars for his role in Danny Boyle‘s mountaineering drama 127 Days.

The Night Stalker author Carlo lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease in November last year, yet was was apparently impressed with the vision Cornell and Constantine had for his book before his death.