September 2 2014

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38 posts tagged "James Franco"

James Franco, No Longer Reclusive, Debuts New Film


James Franco“This is a movie with murder and necrophilia,” James Franco warned the audience last night before the screening of his new film, Child of God. “So if you didn’t know…now you do.” The movie, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s book of the same title, felt like Franco’s career: It was scattered but ambitious. McCarthy’s tome spans just 200 pages, and chronicles the disheveled life of Lester Ballard, who lives alone in the woods and spends his time preying on young women. For the silver screen, Franco, who both directed and acted in the flick, translated the novel into somewhat of a collage of scenes, many of them gruesome and perverse, but some satirical. It was no directorial revelation, but it was another notch in the actor-slash-model-slash-saucy-selfie-taker-slash-academic-slash-artist-slash-director’s creative bedpost.

Lead actor Scott Haze definitely deserved a nod for his acting chops here. Haze prepared for the role by living alone in a cabin for a month in Sevierville, Tennessee, where the novel is set. He lost about 45 pounds in the process. The actor celebrated his return to civilization by becoming a fiend for custom Ferragamo suits. After watching the woodsy film, it was somewhat shocking to see Haze looking so dapper. “[Lester Ballard] is a guy who was not shown love,” he said. “This is a guy who was lonely and isolated.”

Save the aforementioned murder and necrophilia, Franco said he could relate to Mr. Ballard. “For such a long time I was so reclusive and so into my books and stuff,” he offered. “I think I’m past that now and just want to have friends over all the time,” he added. Just then, one of his new “friends” (read: rumored girlfriend) Lana Del Rey wafted into the Tribeca Grand theater to show her support.

Photo: Patrick McMullan

Gia Coppola on Family Film School and Teenage Ennui


PACE GALLERY Opening of James Franco: New Film Stills

The next Coppola force to be reckoned with—at least according to Zac Posen—Gia, granddaughter of Francis, niece of Sofia, has officially entered the family business with her debut feature film, Palo Alto, starring Emma Roberts and James Franco. Based on Franco’s book Palo Alto: Stories, the film follows a clique of disaffected high schoolers as they quietly booze and grind their way through the glory days. In advance of today’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, Coppola found time to chat with about directing her mom, learning from her family, and incorporating her own closet into the shoot.

You met James Franco at a party in L.A. What’s it like meeting James Franco for the first time?
I had always been a big fan of his, and my mom had met him while I was in college. She was raving about how nice and intelligent he was. Then I was at a deli with some friends and I saw him there. Later that night I crashed some Hollywood party and I saw him, and my mom dragged him over and he remembered me from earlier that afternoon. He asked me about my photography, and we stayed in touch. I sent him all my photographs, and he sent me his book. He wanted to make it into a movie, long story short.

Does the world of Palo Alto have anything in common with your teen years?
Yes, emotionally, there’s that weird age where you’re too young to be an adult and too old to be a kid and you’re trying to figure out what you want.

Do you relate to the ennui?
I just remember that most of the time you’re looking for something to do, but usually in those moments you’re having the most fun when you’re hanging out in the parking lot and driving around.

What was it like directing your mother?
It was funny because she just kept spiking the camera at the end of every scene and looking at me to see if she did an OK job. It took a while to convince her to do it.

How would you describe your own film education?
I really learned a lot when I worked on my grandpa’s film Twixt and got to be with him start to finish and sit next to him every day. That was my film school.

What was the most valuable piece of advice your grandfather gave you?
He’s always spitting out these amazing quotes. Even just something as simple as eat your breakfast because you need sugar in the morning to get your brain thinking. And be open to your actors’ ideas because they know the characters better than you.

You worked on your aunt’s film Somewhere, in the costume department. How did that prepare you for making this project?
It was nice to just see how Sofia works and her own demeanor that is true to herself, and you don’t have to be this big, authoritative figure. I don’t think I would have thought about directing if I had not seen her do it as a young woman.

The tone and the palate of Palo Alto reminds me a little bit of Somewhere. Is that a coincidence?
Well, we’re of the same blood and I look up to her, so maybe I just can’t help but subconsciously kind of be influenced by her work.

I imagine it would be tricky to have such an amazing resource and not want to take advantage of it. Did you reach out to her?
It was really important for me to figure out my own voice and not feel influenced by anyone else’s opinions, so I really just kind of discussed it with James as my mentor. I didn’t want to kind of get pulled in many different directions—[I wanted to] figure out how to do this on my own.

How did you want to create the feel of high school with its fashion?
So many of the kids on television have really nice clothes, perfect skin and hair. I just really wanted to see a movie that felt authentic to what I observe when I’m watching teenagers out in public. Jack [Kilmer] has really awesome style to begin with, so he just kind of wore his clothes, and I used some of my clothes because we were low budget.

Which pieces of your clothes made it into the film?
Emma has some of my clothes. I wore that yellow vintage sweatshirt on set, and my mom was like, “That’d be a good sweater for Emma, yellow will look good on camera.” So I just took it off and put it on her.

What are you working on now?
I’m writing two different ideas, and I hope that maybe I can work with James again.

Are you thinking of teenagers?
I love the subject matter of teenagers, but next time around I’d like to try something different. Plus, I’m so attached to my teenagers from Palo Alto I can’t imagine working with anyone else.

Photo: Sam Deitch/

Watch James Franco Star in a New James Franco-Directed Gucci Ad


After producing The Director, a documentary about Gucci designer Frida Giannini, do-everything guy James Franco is back to direct a new Gucci eyewear video. Titled Techno Color Sunglasses, the video was filmed at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles and stars Franco himself alongside model Natalia Bonifacci. They both wear Gucci’s colorful new frames and instantly engage in a romantic pursuit. The vibe is cool and retro, with washed-out colors, classic cars, and plenty of Hollywood glamour.

Watch the Trailer for James Franco’s Palo Alto


The deck is really stacked on this one. Palo Alto is a new film based on a collection of short stories by James Franco. It’s written and directed by Gia Coppola and stars Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer (Val’s son), and Nat Wolff as teenagers in a “bizzaro John Hughes world” where Franco plays a soccer coach who is romantically interested in an angsty but shy teenager played by Roberts. Bored, good-looking kids having sex, doing drugs, and coming of age with a soundtrack by Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) and Robert Schwartzman (Rooney). It will probably be good.

James Franco Welcomes You to Gay Town


James Franco’s face—usually found in Gucci ads, movies, and plastered across celebrity-gossip sites—is seen everywhere in Gay Town, his second solo show in Berlin with the Peres Projects gallery. A veritable self-portrait, the multimedia installation responds to obsession with celebrity. And thanks to his position as, well, a celebrity, Franco offers a unique, insider perspective on fandom and stardom in what seems like an attempt to turn Hollywood stereotypes on their heads. Take, for instance, the collection of five hundred rugs Franco presents, many covered with screenshots of fans’ blogs, gossip sites, and Huffington Post slams of his social life, sex life, and intellectual pursuits. Franco scrawls defensive notes all over these images. “To make a self-portrait of my public persona, instead of me in my bedroom, is to make my art about something larger,” said Franco. There’s even a lo-fi video enactment of one fan’s slash-fiction fantasies of Franco having sex with Spider-Man and prison inmates. Indeed, if anyone is qualified to comment on obsessive celebrity culture, it’s Mr. Franco. One of his rugs reads, “Cindy Sherman is not recognized at her own show.” Something tells us that, for better or worse, the actor-cum-artist doesn’t have that problem.

Gay Town is on view at Peres Projects in Berlin through March 9.

Photo:Alonso Dominguez