Actor James Franco in a Jan. 22, 2010, photograph. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)
One day in the not-too-distant future, we expect James Franco to speedily move from one film project to another, then explode in a puff of smoke like a vintage Hanna Barbera character.
Until then, he’ll keep ginning up new movies.
The most recent of these is a trio of features based on his own short-story collection “Palo Alto” which he’ll produce. Franco has posted a video to the site Indiegogo in the hope of raising funds for it (you can watch it here).
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Crowd-funding a movie isn’t easy. Just ask Zach Braff. But it’s even harder if you’re also involved with, like, 10 movies at the same time. I don’t mean 10 in that figurative, I’ve-asked-you-10-times sort of way. I mean literally 10 film projects. Actually, I mean 11. And there are probably a few more he’s slipping in under the radar.
You probably are aware of the Franco-philia all around on some kind of intuitive level. But it’s still stark to see it laid out in black-and-white.
Since January, he has produced, directed, wrote, promoted, fund-raised or otherwise been involved with the following films:
--“As I Lay Dying.” His directorial adaptation of the difficult William Faulkner book that premiered at Cannes.
--“Kink.” A documentary about a San Francisco fetish website he produced.
--“This Is The End.” The apocalypse comedy hit currently in theaters in which he plays a distorted version of himself.
--“The Garden of Last Days.” A drama based on an Andre Dubus III novel that he’ll shoot this summer.
--“Oz: The Great and Powerful.” The Disney blockbuster in which he, of course, plays L. Frank Baum’s charlatan-turned-wizard.
--“Interior. Leather Bar.” A documentary about the 1980s gay adult film "Cruising" that he co-directed and produced.
--“Lovelace.” The period story about pioneering porn star Linda Lovelace in which he costars as Hugh Hefner.
--“Spring Breakers.” The Harmony Korine girls-gone-wild exercise in which he plays a dread-wearing baddie who gets his pincers into some former Disney Channel actresses.
--“True Story.” A tale of a murderer impersonating a journalist that he recently finished shooting in New York. (He plays the murderer.)
--“The Director.” A documentary that he produced about Italian fashion designer Frida Giannini.
--“Good People.” A thriller about ordinary people who find money and the thief who chases them; he’s shooting currently in London.
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All of this, and to say nothing of the half-dozen movies he shot in 2012 that he’ll soon be out stumping for (they include everything from a biopic of writer-poet Charles Bukowski he directed to a drug-lord thriller called “Homefront” in which he stars to a rural loner story titled “Black Dog, Red Dog” that he directed and stars in).
Has there ever been an actor as prolific, or an era in which he or she is as prolific in? Not in the days of studios cranking out movies every few weeks, not in the era of a million serials, and probably not at any point in the future either.
In fact, when children decades from now ask, "Mommy, what was it like back in 2012 and 2013?" the answer will invariably come back, “There was tension and protest in the Muslim world. There were divisive immigration and economic debates at home. But the thing I remember most is that you really couldn’t escape James Franco.”