Author Stephen Elliott to direct pic

Author Stephen Elliott is set to direct James Franco in the indie drama “Cherry,” with Heather Graham, Dev Patel and indie stalwart Lili Taylor in negotiations to star.

Elliott — author of “The Adderall Diaries,” which Franco recently optioned — co-wrote the script with Lorelei Lee.

Liz Destro (“Explicit Ills”) is producing the pic, which follows a troubled 18-year-old who moves to San Francisco, where she enters the porn industry and becomes involved with a cocaine-addicted lawyer, to be played by Franco.

Graham will play a former porn star-turned-director who becomes mildly obsessed with the young starlet, who has yet to be cast. Taylor will play the teen’s alcoholic mother, while Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire”) will play the girl’s best friend who’s in love with her.

“Cherry” is scheduled to start production next month in San Francisco.

Franco is currently preparing to star in Disney’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” He next stars in 20th Century Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Patel recently starred in Par’s “The Last Airbender” and just wrapped John Madden’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” Graham was recently seen in “The Hangover” and next stars in “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,” which Relativity Media releases June 10. Taylor last appeared in Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” and will soon be seen in the Jeffrey Dean Morgan-starrer “The Courier.”

Franco is repped by CAA and James/Levy Management, Patel by UTA and Curtis Brown Group, Graham by Gersh and the Schiff Co., and Taylor by ICM and Dontanville/Frattaroli Management.

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