Method Man and Suki Waterhouse also will be joining Franco and Milla Jovovich in the post-apocalyptic indie thriller.
James Franco’s Future World just got a whole lot bigger.
Lucy Liu and Snoop Dogg will be joining Franco and Milla Jovovich in the post-apocalyptic indie thriller, along with fellow newcomers Method Man and Suki Waterhouse. Margarita Levieva and Jeffrey Wahlberg also have been added to the cast.
The pic is based on an original short story by Franco, and follows young Prince from the Oasis and a robot as they go on a daring journey of self-discovery through the violent and desolate world of the Wastelands.
Bruce Cheung and Jay Davis penned the film, which will be directed by Cheung and Franco. Iervolino Bacardi, Monika Bacardi, Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis will produce the project.
AMBI Group will finance and distribute Future World domestically, while AMBI Distribution, the worldwide sales arm of the AMBI Group, will handle global sales.
This is Franco’s second collaboration with AMBI, the first being the multihyphenate’s adaptation of the classic John Steinbeck novel In Dubious Battle.
Milla Jovovich is joining the cast of James Franco’s new indie film Future World, playing a drug lord in a post-apocalyptic world that is plagued with heat, ravaged by disease and crippled by chronic war. Franco and Bruce Thierry Cheung are directing and Franco is also acting in the film, the story of which he created.
The project, written by Cheung, Jay Davis and Jeremy Cheung, follows a young boy of noble birth who embarks on a journey through the wasteland of this future world in order to find medicine for his dying mother. Armed with his faithful bodyguard and only a slim hope that this medicine actually exists, he must forge courageously on, facing danger and ultimately the Warlord of this world who has plans of his own as he takes control of a beautiful, life-like robot assassin.Singer-actor George Lewis Jr, known as Twin Shadow, has also been cast in the role of Ratcatcher.
How’s this for a powerhouse combination: Russell Crowe is in talks to star in a James Franco-directed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian with Tye Sheridan and Vincent D’Onofrio also boarding the cast. Franco will also act in the film, which is being produced by Scott Rudin. IM Global is handling international sales at Cannes. CAA is repping domestic rights.
Crowe and McCarthy seem about as perfect a fit as cheese and chutney. This long-in-the-works adaptation has been around for some time and finally looks like it might be moving forward. McCarthy’s critically-praised book is based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s and traces the journey of the Kid, a 14 year old Tennesseean who stumbles into a nightmarish world when he joins a ruthless gang of scalphunters that includes the mysterious and menacing Judge Holden.
Plug Pulled On Russell Crowe-James Franco Blood Meridian Project Over Book Rights Issue – Update
UPDATE, Thursday, 1:57 AM: The mooted Russell Crowe-James Franco collaboration on Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian has been shelved, mere moments after details of it first became public after it emerged that the filmmakers had not yet secured rights to the novel.
James Franco, Elysium Bandini Studios and UCLA are developing “Mississippi Requiem” — a single movie consisting of four black and white shorts — Variety has learned exclusively. Franco will star in the adaptation of William Faulkner’s stories, along with Topher Grace, Amy Smart and Alicia Witt.
The pic deals with issues of race, gender and class set in the American South during the early 20th Century. Beth Grant, Marianna Palka, Elayn Taylor, Sky Van Vliet and Zackary Arthur also star, along with musician George Lewis Jr., known as Twin Shadow.
The four Faulkner stories adapted include “A Dry September,” “That Evening Sun,” “Elly” and “A Rose for Emily.”
Elysium Bandini is partnered with UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television; Lee Caplin of Picture Entertainment; and Sabrina Coryell of Engaging the Senses Foundation.
This production is the second film collaboration this year under Elysium Bandini, the newly formed philanthropic studio model between Franco and Vince Jolivette’s Rabbit Bandini Productions, and Jennifer Howell’s The Art of Elysium.
Elysium Bandini’s existing film slate includes “Forever,” “Yosemite,” “Memoria” and the recently announced project at USC, “The Mad Whale.” All of the movies’ proceeds benefit programs for the nonprofit The Art of Elysium, a favorite charity of Kirsten Dunst, Eva Mendes, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp.
Franco directed two previous Faulker adaptations — “As I Lay Dying” in 2013 and “The Sound and the Fury,” which premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival.
Student filmmaking teams on the four short films comprising “Mississippi Requiem” are led by Arkesh Ajay, Jerell Rosales, Kelly Pike and Marta Savina, as well as UCLA producing students Juanita Cepero, Matt Russak, Aaron Edmonds, Safiya Farquharson, Zachary Hamby, Cecilia Albertini and Ariane Ackerberg.
Executive producers are Franco, Jolivette and Howell of Elysium Bandini; Coryell of Engaging the Senses Foundation; and Lee Caplin of Picture Entertainment, who also represents Faulkner’s estate.
King Cobra, based on the true story of gay porn star Brent Corrigan and his ill-fated director’s death, finally got off the ground at the urging of James Franco.
The actor and producer was fascinated by the character based on Bryan Kocis, the Cobra Video owner who quietly directed and produced Corrigan’s videos in his home and trademarked Brent Corrigan’s name — a valuable asset for which he was killed in 2007 by a pair of rival producers.
“He was a guy with a fairly low-key life but had this interest in pornography, and I love a story about somebody that decides, ‘I’m gonna change my life and go for it in a big way,’ ” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s world premiere, as part of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. In contrast with his character, one of the competing producers who “somehow thinks he needs to bring others down in order to get up, the movie presents two sides of something that’s interesting to me: One person has a dream and makes a positive change in order to pursue it, while another has the same dream and takes desperate measures in order to achieve it.”
Franco — who produced the film with Jordan Yale Levine, Scott Levenson, Vince Jolivette, Iris Torres and Shaun Sanghani — pushed his I Am Michael writer-director Justin Kelly to make the movie quickly. He passed the script onto his Adderall Diaries co-star, Christian Slater.
“It was definitely an out-of-the-box character for me — there was certainly a time in my life when I would’ve said, ‘No way. I would never do this,’ but I just didn’t want to be there anymore. I wanted to feel the fear and do it anyway,” Slater explained of playing the slain producer. “It’s a cutthroat business, literally, but every business has that element. This competitiveness and greed is all motivated by money.”
With reenactments of Corrigan’s most famous videos (but no male genitalia shown onscreen), Garrett Clayton was admittedly nervous to play Corrigan, whose real name is Sean Paul Lockhart. “I know everyone was surprised when I accepted the role because of Disney, let’s be honest,” said the Teen Beach actor. “But there’s a great message of overcoming obstacles and taking charge of your own life. He is someone who was trying to make the best of a crazy situation. It’s a big self-discovery piece.”
While the male actors said they were altogether eased by Kelly’s even-handed approach to both sides of the story, the women joked they had different reasons for joining the project.
“I was just happy to be in a movie where all the guys had to take off their clothes,” Molly Ringwald joked to the audience after the screening. Alicia Silverstone added, “I love all of these actors – they’re all very sexy!”
James Franco isn’t known for his love of downtime. Along with starring in Hulu’s recently premiered JFK assassination series 11.22.63, the actor also has the HBO porn series The Deuce on the horizon, a film based on Tommy Wisseau’s cult classic The Room (dubbed The Disaster Artist), and is currently shooting the Christmas comedy Why Him?, which co-stars Bryan Cranston.
In addition to his on-screen work, Franco is also occupying whatever free time he has left with art projects. His latest is as one half of the music duo Daddy, which places him alongside Brooklyn-based artist and composer Tim O’Keefe, who created music for Franco’s two Faulkner adaptations As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. It’s a high school-themed project that encompasses both music and film based on a series of poems Franco wrote, which were based on songs by The Smiths. The end result is the album Let Me Get What I Want (featuring music from Smiths bassist Andy Rourke), as well as a short film and upcoming series of exhibits. Here, Franco and O’Keefe discuss their unique project, creative process and Franco’s perception as some sort of enigma.
How did your collaboration come about?
I know you two met at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
James Franco: We both were at RISD doing the graduate digital media studies program. I love adaptation and the idea that people would use paintings as inspiration for poems. I like that idea that you can do that with all mediums – using one to inspire another. And so I used the Smiths songs as a structuring and inspirational device for this 10-poem series. I thought the way the Smiths songs had this great irony and earnestness at the same time was exactly how high school felt. Everything was kind of so big and important, and yet so stupid at the same time. So exciting, yet also so boring. I thought the emotional tone of the Smiths songs would be perfect for this series of poems about teenagers I wanted to write. After I had those, at some point I gave them to Tim with the idea that we would turn all of them into this album.
Tim O’Keefe: We were in printmaking class talking about making a full-length album. I remember we were listening to The Smiths when we were working on something and James told me about that series of poems. The strange thing that happened was afterwards my manager was at South by Southwest and happened to meet Andy Rourke. We said, “Do you think he’d be interested in this project?” So she reached out to his manager and within an hour they were like, “Yeah, he’s definitely into the idea.”
The project now exists as an album, film and exhibit. Was that the plan all along?
TO: We knew right off the bat, that’s how we approached it from the beginning for sure. The first one was more focused on Motown and we knew we wanted to take a different approach, less of a typical band and more of an art project that worked in multiple mediums. We were thinking of the film component, album component, and poem component together, because they all come from James’s poems.
James, there’s a preoccupation with high school themes in much of your work. Why do you find high school so fascinating?
JF: I guess it’s a place and a time for me when everything is heightened. A lot of things are new. It’s when you’re first entering the adult world and doing adult things for the first time. That time is the most exciting. People are not fully formed yet. When you’re an adult you’re going down a path of whoever you’re going to be for the rest of your life. When you’re in high school, a lot of that is still up in the air. To create work around that is very fruitful because you have these characters or emotions or experiences that feel so much bigger and more important than they do when you get older. I see it as a metaphor. I had a hard time in high school but I’m not working out anything that troubled me back then, as much as I find the struggles of people that age to serve as a device for me to say everything I want to say creatively. I’ve just found that’s one of my main topics and the best vehicle for me to say the things I want to say.
Tell me about the film component of the project. I understand it stars actual high school kids?
JF: I had the idea to give the poems to a film-making class my mother was teaching in Palo Alto. I’ve been teaching graduate film-making for six years now and in all of my classes they adapt some sort of source material into films. So I gave that structure to my mother and gave the high school students funding to adapt my poems into 10 short films. They gave me updates each step of the way but they had free reign to make what they wanted to. Then we took the material they shot and made them into our films which are more connected to the music. It became about students in Palo Alto working on films based on former students.
Tim, how does it feel that everything is out there? How are people reacting to it?
TO: I’m really happy with the way the final product has come out, from the songs to the feel of the film itself. We worked on it for a long time. With James’s involvement, it gets a certain amount of attention and there’s a side to where people who are not necessarily fans of James would already dismiss it without knowing what it is. Some people will get it and some people won’t, and you just have to accept that.
James, your recent cover of Rolling Stone had the headline The Mystery of James Franco. Why do you think people are so perplexed?
JF: Well. I do do a lot. (Laughs.) When it comes to Daddy, I didn’t train as a musician or make songs my entire life like Tim. I’ve been a big music fan, but I just haven’t been doing that. So when I approach something like this I want to give it the respect that it deserves. I want to be sure I work with great people who know what they’re doing like Tim or Andy. I do know that it will get attention because of who I am, but on the other hand I am a sort of earnest amateur. I’m not coming to this trying to take over the music biz. For me, it’s a cool project. So I’m going to enter it at a certain level and to me that’s okay because I don’t think our end goal depends on me being Beyonce. It’s an art project and it’s about persona as much as it is making songs that are great to listen to.
Do you know how to relax? Have you ever been on a vacation where you just did nothing?
JF: (Laughs.) Yeah, but then I think of all those things I still want to do and I’m like, I can’t. I do have that me time, it’s just that I’m in a fortunate position that I make a living doing what I love. When I’m working it doesn’t look a lot different from when I’m not working because I love it.
James Franco graces the cover of this month’s Rolling Stone, and in the issue, he opens up about his apparent infatuation with gay culture.
Franco reveals that what fuels his “obsession” is his passion for sharing the stories LGBT figures on screen, something that first resonated with him when he was a student.
“When I was studying at NYU, I took classes in critical studies, and one of my favorites was on queer cinema.
“We’ve told the straight, heteronormative stories ad nauseam by now, in our movies, our shows, our commercials – everywhere.
“I think it’s healthy to make work that disrupts and questions that, and shows alternative narratives. That’s what an artist should do.”
Franco also tackled the rumors surrounding his sexuality, saying that he enjoys them, as they act as a “shield” when he dates women.
“One of the nice things about all that speculation is that it’s a smokescreen.”
Last year, the Oscar-nominated actor announced that he was in the midst of production for the film King Cobra, which will be based on the 2007 murder of gay porn filmmaker Bryan Kocis.
Franco also starred in the 2015 biopic I am Michael, which tells the controversial true story of a gay activist who denounces homosexuality to become a Christian pastor.
In addition to his work in film, he released a book entitled Straight James / Gay James, last year.
Above and beyond the aforementioned projects, Franco has explored LGBTI narratives from behind the camera as director for the films Sal about the 1976 death of openly gay Rebel Without A Cause actor Sal Mineo, the short film Interior, Leather Bar, and the 2011 film The Broken Tower, about American poet Hart Crane.
Streaming service Netflix has picked up distribution rights in America for animated feature The Little Prince, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Paramount Pictures had originally slated the title for a March 18th theatrical release, but dropped it last Saturday without any explanation. There’s no word though on when The Little Prince will show up on the streaming service.
The film is the first full-length (non-musical) adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s 1934 book of the same name. It combines both computer-generated and stop motion animation, and features the voices of Hollywood stars including Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, and Paul Rudd. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May last year, and was fairly well received. Critics praised the animation style, but noted that the film messes about a little too much with the source material, adding a “Disneyfied empowerment yarn” that’s “rather obviously taking its cue from Up.”