Month: July 2015

James Franco Receives “Innovators Award” At The 2015 La Jolla International Fashion Film Awards

James Franco is a man who wears many hats. Not only is he an aclaimed actor, model, all around funny guy and gearing up to write a book about Lana del Rey, but the fantastucally quircky actor just received the “Innovators Award” at the 2015 La Jolla International Fashion Film Awards.When many Hollywood A-listers were just hearing about fashion films, James Franco was already ahead of the curve, from directing films for “7 For All Mankind”, to producing the Gucci feature film “The Director” starring Frida Giannini.The recent film Franco produced, The Director, is an intimate portrait of Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini. The film dives into the walls of the iconic Italian fashion house, exploring the intricacies of the brilliant visionary whose evolution as the creative force behind the brand is filled with intrigue and wonder.James’ early adoption and innovative concepts helped pave the way for the worldwide phenomenon fashion film has become today. When you take an Academy Award nominee, actor, producer, director, author, & scholar, and add a bit of mystery, you have James Franco, one of Hollywood’s most innovative creators.

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James Franco Co-Writes Lana Del Rey Book

In January, James Franco penned an ode to his friend and muse Lana Del Rey, concluding his V Magazine tribute to the singer by writing, “I wanted to interview Lana for a book and she said, ‘Just write around me; it’s better if it’s not my own words. It’s almost better if you don’t get me exactly, but try.'” That suggestion turned into an actual book as Franco revealed the actor has co-written Flip-Side: Real and Imaginary Conversations With Lana Del Rey. The 100-page book will be released March 15th, 2016 via Penguin Random House.
Franco co-write Flip-Side with New York Times bestsellers list author David Shields, who previously teamed with Franco on a film adaptation of I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel, which was directed by Franco and co-written by Shields and Caleb Powell. Franco was also Shields’ student while the actor pursued his creative writing MFA through the Warren Wilson Program, Washington.edu reported in December 2013.

In that initial V tribute to Del Rey, Franco first agreed with the criticism the singer faced after her tumultuous Saturday Night Live performance but, after getting to know her, became enamored with her music.
“Lana has become my friend. She is a musician who is a poet and a video artist. She grew up on the East Coast but she is an artist of the West Coast,” Franco wrote. “When I watch her stuff, when I listen to her stuff, I am reminded of everything I love about Los Angeles. I am sucked into a long gallery of Los Angeles cult figurines, and cult people, up all night like vampires and bikers. The only difference between Lana and me is her haunting voice. That carries everything. The voice is the central axle around which the spokes of everything else extend.”

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Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity Will Throw a Bar Mitzvah for James Franco

He may not know the Torah, but James Franco is getting a bar mitzvah, courtesy of Seth Rogen and wife Lauren Miller Rogen at Hilarity for Charity’s Variety show Oct. 17 at the Hollywood Palladium.

Seth Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller Rogen, set up Hilarity for Charity to promote awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and inspire change among the millennial generation after her mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at age 55. Tickets go on sale for the fourth annual show Aug. 11.

“Ever since I’ve known James, he’s been talking about wanting a bar mitzvah,” Seth Rogen said in a statement. “We’re excited to see him finally become a man while also helping us raise awareness and funds for people living with Alzheimer’s and towards research that will lead to a cure. And in celebration we’ll also have a mohel and a live bris for James at the event.”

While the lineup for the 2015 edition has not yet been announced, past shows have featured Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruno Mars, Jack Black, Samuel L. Jackson and Nick Kroll. Last year’s prom night-themed show raised $1 million for the cause.

Miller Rogen said, “5 million Americans are currently living with the disease and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., yet it is the least funded and the only one with no treatment whatsoever. I hope we’re able to capture the attention of more young people, and get the disease the type of funding it deserves.”

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INTERVIEW with James Franco, who plays Christian Longo in True Story

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James Franco admits he had “mixed feelings” about accepting the role of Christian Longo, a man who was put on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives list after murdering his wife and three children and fleeing to Mexico.

There, Longo assumed the identity of the disgraced New York Times journalist Michael Finkel, and when he was eventually arrested and extradited to the US, he asked to meet the writer.

True Story, a film co-produced by Brad Pitt, is based on Finkel’s bestselling memoir of that meeting.

“By the time Longo and Finkel [who’d fabricated interviewees in a piece about the African slave trade] met, they’d both hit bottoms of their own, and the private space that created was, for a while, a positive thing for both of them,” says Franco.

“They could confide in each other in ways they couldn’t confide in anyone, and I think they helped each other through that time. It’s just that Christian Longo has a way of creating his own mythology about himself, and he used Finkel to help him rewrite his own story.”

Despite his reservations about the character, Franco was keen to work with the British theatre director Rupert Goold, who was taking the helm on the movie.

“I saw his stage production of Macbeth in London and I’m a big fan,” says the 37-year-old actor, whose big break was in 1999, playing Daniel Desario in the cult TV series Freaks And Geeks.

It’s not the first time Franco’s played a character who’s based on a real person, but his approach has always been dependent on the movie and the person in question.

“People know what James Dean sounded like, and what he looked like and how he moved, those are all keys to his character, and capturing his outward behaviour was vital,” says the actor, who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the late Hollywood icon in a 2001 biopic.

It was the same story when it came to playing poet Allen Ginsberg in 2010’s Howl ( “His look and sound is very specific”), but with 127 Hours, the 2010 film which told the story trapped canyoneer Aron Ralston, who ended up cutting off his own arm after becoming trapped by a rock, director Danny Boyle didn’t want Ralston on set every day.

“That performance wasn’t about capturing the nuances of Aron’s physical behaviour. It was about capturing the experience he went through, in as honest a way as possible,” says Franco, who received an Academy Award nomination for the role.

“Here, again, I feel that Rupert’s approach is not to capture Longo’s behaviour to a tee, as much as to try and capture the weird psychology of the kind of person that could do something like this, and then behave the way he has since then,” he adds.

Franco has never had any interest in meeting Longo.

“This is the one case where I don’t want to meet the guy. I feel like just doing this movie is almost too much,” notes the actor, who was born in Palo Alto, California, and also has a string of producer, writer and director credits to his name.

“He killed his family, and now a movie’s being made about him that stars Jonah Hill [as Finkel] and myself. If I was making a Werner Herzog documentary about death row, yeah, I’d go and meet him. But because I’m playing him, I just want to separate myself.”

While he’s managed to find the humanity in dubious characters in the past, “with Christian, I don’t find any need to humanise him. He’s worst human being I’ve ever played. I hate this guy”, Franco admits.

Instead, he decided to “play him as he saw himself”.

“Playing it that way, combined with the knowledge of what he did, will make him a very terrifying person.

“Longo’s all surface and appears to be a regular guy, charming and nice, so I feel like I can play those sides of him. Plus, there was some disconnection between what he did and how he saw himself, so I think in this case, it’s OK that I don’t feel as attached to this world as my other roles, because I feel he wasn’t attached to himself.”

The upshot was that Franco never took the role home.

“That’s the weird thing about this,” he says, recalling filming Longo’s testimony scene during the murder trial. “I think it was five pages of dialogue, and when I got home that night, I felt that if somebody had asked me if I did a big speech that day, I wouldn’t have remembered it.

“Normally with a role, you want to connect the character to your own emotions, but this guy doesn’t have any emotions, so I just kind of walked through it.”

Now the film’s being released, the hardest aspect for Franco to accept is that the narcissistic Longo, who was sentenced to death in 2003, is achieving something akin to celebrity status.

“We’re certainly not celebrating him or giving the other side to his story or anything like that, but even though we make him the villain of the piece, he’s almost getting what he always wanted,” he notes.

“It’s that weird, insidious thing that happens when somebody does a horrible act and yes, they are punished by the law, but in the media they’re given attention. They’re made into celebrities.

“I don’t want to give him any kind of positive reinforcement whatsoever,” says Franco. “He’s done nothing but murder his family. He’s a sociopath. I just hope he finds peace in his soul.”

True Story is released in cinemas on Friday, July 17

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New clip from True Story featuring James Franco and Felicity Jones

James Franco, Ahna O’Reilly Adapting ‘The Killer Next Door’ as Movie

James Franco and Ahna O’Reilly are developing a movie version of Alex Marwood’s murder mystery “The Killer Next Door.”

Franco and Vince Jolivette will produce through their Rabbit Bandini Productions, along with O’Reilly, who may take a lead acting role.

Marwood’s debut novel, “The Wicked Girls,” earned her the Edgar Award for paperback original. “The Killer Next Door,” published last year, centers on six neighbors forced into an unlikely alliance without realizing that one of them is a killer who will do anything to protect his secret.

Franco and Jolivette have become prolific independent producers. Franco directed and produced a pair of indie dramas this year — “In Dubious Battle,” based on John Steinbeck’s 1936 novel, with a cast that includes Franco, Selena Gomez, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris and Bryan Cranston; and “The Long Home,” based on William Gay’s coming-of-age story set in 1940s rural Tennessee, starring Franco, Josh Hutcherson and Zoe Levin.

Franco has also directed two adaptations of William Faulkner novels: 2014’s “The Sound and the Fury,” which played at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, and 2013’s “As I Lay Dying.”

Franco was last seen in Sony’s “The Interview,” which he exec produced. He also produced and starred in the drama “I Am Michael,” which premiered at Sundance in January, portraying Michael Glatze’s change in identity from gay-rights activist to Christian pastor.

O’Reilly starred in “In Dubious Battle,” “I Am Michael,” “The Sound and the Fury” and the upcoming “All I See Is You.”

The deal for “The Killer Next Door” was made by Meg Davis of the Ki Agency, in association with William Morris Endeavor, on behalf of Laetitia Rutherford of Watson, Little

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James Franco on ‘Yosemite’ and Getting Over Insecurities as Director

James Franco took a risk in the late 2000’s when he enrolled in several grad school programs at a time some would say was the pinnacle of his acting career.

But the gamble has more than paid off as the 37-year-old auteur has ventured into and mastered a plethora of artistic mediums before and since. In recent years, Franco has written books, produced films, taught classes and has taken his directing to a whole new level.

Franco says film school at NYU and Columbia was a big help, especially when it comes to telling master actors what to do!

Read: James Franco Offering Students a Chance to Make a Film With Him
“Going to school was incredible for me,” he told ABC News. “It gave me the confidence to picture myself as a director. I had directed things before film school, but I was pretty insecure about what I was doing. So, film school kind of gave me the confidence to do that.”

One recent film where Franco played the jack-of-all-trades and stepped behind the camera in addition to starring alongside Will Ferrell and Megan Fox was “Zeroville.”

“Will was great, it does take a little bit of confidence that maybe I didn’t have when I stared out,” he said. “It’d be scary to work with people that are the best at what they do. I found that a lot of actors that I never dreamed of directing like Ferrell or Robert Duvall and Bryan Cranston, all these people in my other film ‘In Dubious Battle,’ they all responded to the material, but I think they also responded to the attitude of that we don’t have to all wait around for somebody to allow us to do this … we kind of figured out ways to make these [movies] happen.”


ABC US News | World News

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Watch a clip from True Story starring James Franco and Jonah Hill

Ahead of its UK release next week, a new clip has arrived online from the drama True Story, starring James Franco and Jonah Hill.

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Queen of the Desert – Trailer 2

James Franco Coming to Cleveland to Showcase Artwork by Him and His Brother

James Franco

James Franco is one of the most polarizing figures in the Contemporary Art world. Some consider him a “Renaissance Man;” others condemn him as a “half-assed” hack or worse. It seems that very few people are on the fence; you either love him or you hate him. Actually, that sounds like a lot of great artists.

A California Childhood: The Art of James Franco and Tom Franco opens at the Verne Collection with a reception Saturday, July 18, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Both Tom and James Franco will be in the gallery Saturday evening for the reception. On Sunday, July 19, Tom Franco will present a gallery talk at 2 p.m.

So, why is James Franco having an art exhibition in Cleveland? You may not know this, but James actually has family roots in Cleveland.

His maternal grandparents, Dan and Mitzie Verne, founded the Verne Collection: A Gallery of Japanese Prints and Paintings on Murray Hill in Little Italy in the mid 1950s, after living in Japan for two years. Now retired, the couple has passed the gallery down to their son, Michael (James and Tom’s uncle), who now serves as President of the Verne Collection.

The Vernes and their grandsons have always been close, despite growing up thousands of miles away in Palo Alto, CA. You may have seen Mitzie Verne at the Academy Awards the year James co-hosted. She was sitting next to James’ youngest brother Dave, who is becoming quite the accomplished actor himself (Neighbors, Scrubs, 21 Jump Street). James is the oldest son of the Vernes’ eldest daughter, Betsy, and her husband, Douglas. James has two brothers – Tom and Dave.

James Franco is a writer, painter, filmmaker, but he is best known as an actor (Milk, Spider-Man, Pineapple Express, Spring Breakers, The Interview). He fell in love with painting as an outlet in high school, and he’s actually been painting longer than he’s been acting. As a teenager, he attended after-school programs at the California State Summer School for the Arts. He studied at University of California (Los Angeles) before earning an MFA in English from Columbia University in New York City in 2010, and has studied (and taught) at many universities including Yale and the well respected Rhode Island School of Design.

Acting isn’t the only thing that runs in the family; Tom Franco is a full time painter, sculptor and arts professional in California. In 2005, Tom co-founded (and later became sole director of) Firehouse Art Collective in Berkeley, an art space dedicated to artists of all disciplines co-creating community, currency and culture. Firehouse features gallery exhibitions, public art, curated live art events, open studio art walks, workshops, performance theater, lectures, concerts, film club movie nights, studios, living spaces and gourmet organic food.

“My art work is a reflection of living within the Firehouse Art Collective experience, working with all sorts of artists every day, solving puzzles big and small to perfect the building blocks of creative making,” explains Tom Franco. “When I am spending time in my studio, I try to document that joy that flashes before me as I play and envision objects, people and animals that I love.”

He continues, “This year I have focused my art work on an inspiration of community in full swing, vibrant, joyous celebration. I really get a kick out of seeing other groups collaborating in an artistic process, where there is no doubt they have reached their goal!”

The Verne Collection is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. The exhibition remains on view through Saturday, Aug. 8. The show and related events are free and open to the public.

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