James Franco likes notion of being the Scorsese to Scott Haze's De Niro as pair team up again

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TORONTO — As James Franco gets set to open his latest film, "The Sound and the Fury," the actor-director likes to think of star Scott Haze as the Robert De Niro or Leonardo DiCaprio to his Martin Scorsese.

"Scott is one of my favorite actors. I would call him my De Niro. Umm, I would call him my Leo. He's more my Leo," Franco joked in a joint interview with Haze at this month's Toronto Film Festival.

This marks the third time Haze appears in one of Franco's films, and they will do it again later this year in "Bukowski." De Niro has starred in eight of Scorsese's films, while DiCaprio has worked with him five times.

Franco, who adapted "The Sound and the Fury" from the William Faulkner novel, has found a niche lately working from classic literature.

"Some directors like to create their own materials. Some like to use real events. And some like to adapt books. I am one of those," Franco said. "I just learned that I am a better director when I do that. When I am collaborating on somebody else's work, whether they're a live writer or a dead writer. It pushes me to rise to their level."

Franco previously covered Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying," and Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God." As in "The Sound and the Fury," Franco also stars in those films, along with Haze.

Haze likes the connection he has with Franco, feeling like he's different than other directors.

"James is an actor and he understands the actor's situation," Haze said. "In 'Child of God,' there's a scene where I lose my arm. He did "127 Hours"; there's that you've-been-here-done-that thing."

"The Sound and the Fury" opens in select theaters on Friday.

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Follow John Carucci on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci

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