A Whirlwind Recap of James Franco’s Various Art Projects

By September 6, 2013


Last weekend, the comedians featured on The Comedy Central Roast Of James Franco made many a gay and Jew joke. It was hilarious. But, amidst all the ribbing were references to the different work and hobbies of Mr. Franco himself. I knew he went back to school a few years ago but that was about it. Once the program was finished, I decided to do some fact checking because according to Seth Rogen and company, James Franco has done a lot of things.

In 2009, James Franco began playing the character Robert James “Franco” Frank on “General Hospital.” This Franco character was a multimedia artist and serial killer that became obsessed with Jason Morgan (played by Steve Burton). He proceeded to appear through 2012 in guest appearances. During his bizarre stint on the soap opera, James Franco created a documentary about it that was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. He even went as far as turning a scene that was filming at MOCA into a live performance art piece. After all was said and done, Franco wrote a Wall Street Journal essay about the role of Franco being nothing more than performance art.

In 2010, James Franco was attending New York University to complete his MFA. Subsequently, Franco received a D in the Directing The Actor class for missing 12 of the 14 sessions. His reason – he was stuck under a rock filming 127 Hours.

In the same year, he also enrolled in Yale’s Ph.D program in English and the Rhode Island School of Design’s digital-media master’s program. Oh, and there’s also that book of short stories he wrote entitled “Palo Alto,” referring to the California city where he grew up.

That poor grade he got in that class I referenced above hasn’t deterred him from taking the director’s chair on film projects. In March of 2011, James Franco directed two short films set to songs by R.E.M. One of these films was set to the track “Blue” featuring Lindsay Lohan.

The other short film was set to the song “That Someone Is You” which looks like a weird homage to Grease.

In June of that same year, Mr. Franco started a Kickstarter campagn for something called “Non-Visible Art.”  As the Kickstarter page I just linked to said, “When you contribute to this Kickstarter project, you are not buying a visible piece of art.” Someone then shelled out something like $10,000 for a nice piece of invisible art called “Fresh Air.” Yeah, okay sure, why not?

Let’s flash forward a bit here to September of 2012. James Franco and his band Daddy (that’s right) release their first single called “Love in the Old Days.” It’s described as a psychedelic, Motown-inspired jam. The video is – as one would expect – odd.

Not to be limited to the titles of just author, actor, model, and director, James Franco added teacher to the many hats he likes to wear. He has taught a feature filmmaking and production class at New York University. In 2013, he began teaching a course in short film production at the University of Southern California as well as a screenwriting class at his alma mater, University of California, Los Angeles. Not to be outdone, Franco is also a damn PhD candidate at Yale University!

This now brings us to 2013. In January, James Franco co-directed Interior. Leather Bar.which is described as a “homo-sex-art-film” that pays tribute to William Friedkin’s controversial 1980 film Cruising. The film premiered at this past Sundance Film Festival. This and the art show he has in Berlin called “Gay Town” has fueled many rumors.

Oh, let’s not forget about the time James Franco dressed in drag!


This brings us to the present. James Franco is continuing to stretch his directing muscles with two new films, one being As I Lay Dying, based on William Faulkner’s classic novel. As I Lay Dying has received mixed reviews, features Franco in the starring role and will hit theaters later this month.

The other film is the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Child Of God. His latest directorial effort just premiered at the Venice Film Festival and again, I’m finding the reviews are mixed.

With all the things James Franco is doing, I believe I speak for all of us (eh, maybe just me) when I say “Thank you, James Franco.” Thanks for taking the time out of your stupidly busy and stupid schedule to let a bunch of funny potty mouth Jews roast the crap out of you. Click here for highlights from the roast. But be warned! I meant it when I said “potty mouth”!

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Aside from throwing words onto your screen here, he has written for the likes of FEARnet, Examiner, Dread Central and MTV Movies Blog. And yes, he was Percy on VR Troopers.