Josh Hutcherson to Star in James Franco’s ‘The Long Home’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Josh Hutcherson will follow the blockbuster “Hunger Games” franchise with a much smaller film, securing the lead in the James Franco-directed drama “The Long Home.”

Based on the novel by William Gay, “The Long Home” is set in the 1940s in rural Tennessee, where a young man (Hutcherson) goes to work building a honkytonk for a charismatic and diabolical bootlegger, unaware that the man had murdered his father 10 years prior. He runs into further trouble when he falls for the young woman the bootlegger is grooming to be a prostitute.

Franco is also expected to star, and will produce alongside Rabbit Bandini’s Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis. Robert Halmi Jr. and Jim Reeve are exec producing.

Franco previously cast Hutcherson in another directorial effort, “In Dubious Battle,” based on the John Steinbeck novel. A release date for that film has yet to be announced.

Hutcherson can be seen next in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,” which bows in November. He is repped by CAA, The Beddingfield Company and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller.

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