James Franco plays a mentally ill actor named James in the Maladies trailer

James Franco plays a mentally ill actor named James in the Maladies trailer

Further blurring the line between James Franco the man and James Franco the myth, the trailer for the upcoming Maladies sees the former soap opera actor playing a former soap opera actor who's trying to write a memoir. Maladies marks the second collaboration between Franco and multimedia artist Carter; the duo previously created Erased James Franco, a 2008 film in which Franco reenacted all of his movie and TV roles, along with scenes originally played by Julianne Moore and Rock Hudson, thus allowing all subsequent Franco projects to seem better just by virtue of not being that.

Maladies also features Fallon Goodson as Franco’s mentally detached sister, Catherine Keener as his best-friend/roommate who's also an occasional cross-dresser, and David Strathairn as the trio’s closeted neighbor. These four central figures each struggle with some form of mental illness, or “malady.” The film’s quirky yet somber vibe and late-’60s setting add an extra layer of kitsch that probably didn't help when it came to being panned at the Berlin International Film Festival. Final judgment can’t be passed, however, until Franco reviews the film himself. Maladies hits theaters in limited release on March 21.

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