Today in James Franco: James Franco to play James Franco, plus role that is not James Franco
Now that we are officially back on the Franco’clock, the Francos are simply flying by, with even winter’s sadly abbreviated daylight Francos yielding multiple Francos. First up, the Rotterdam International Film Festival has announced plans to screen Francophenia, a “humorous psycho-thriller” co-directed by Franco and utilizing footage from Franco’s turn on General Hospital as conceptual artist “Franco.” Here that footage will be repurposed with a new script to tease out whatever shreds of meta-textual commentary on the nature of performance might still be left hanging, after Franco chewed them out of the very scenery like some sort of avant-garde beaver. It will, in other words, be the final revelation—at least until Francophenia is also subsumed by Franco’s Francomnibus compiling all of his filmed appearances, and demonstrating that “Franco,” in fact, never truly existed.
Contributing several more minutes to that inevitable anthology will be The Apocalypse—not the actual Armageddon that Franco someday hopes to stage as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, but rather Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s long-simmering adaptation of the short film, Jay And Seth Versus The Apocalypse that just recently landed at Sony. In the Rogen-directed film, Franco, Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, and Craig Robinson—all starring as themselves—will ride out the End of Days from the relative comfort of Franco’s apartment, probably before learning in a twist ending that Franco’s apartment was the real world all along, and that it cannot be extinguished.
And finally, in an increasingly rare turn of Franco playing the far less interesting role of “person who is not James Franco,” Franco is also now attached to The Game, an adaptation of the bestselling memoir/dating guide from Neil Strauss. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Franco would play the key role of Mystery, erstwhile host of VH1’s The Pick-Up Artist, and a man who demonstrated the importance of “peacocking,” narcissistic artifice in order to draw constant attention to yourself. Franco will tackle this role by putting on a hat.