It’s a very good time to be James Franco. This month alone, the multi-hyphenate trolls audiences everywhere in Oz: The Great and Powerful and stars as a Riff Raff-lookalike/gangster named Alien in Spring Breakers. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, announced his upcoming Broadway debut as George in Of Mice and Men, and directed a campaign for Seven For All Mankind.
You might have also heard him stirring up drama last week over his defamation suit brought by NYU professor Jose Angel Santana… and that’s just the first two weeks of March. We haven’t even gotten to Palo Alto Stories, the Gia Coppola adaptation of his short story collection of the same name, due out later this year. He seems to be everywhere, but is is work actually holding up – and furthermore, has American pop culture reached an over-saturation of James Franco?In 2010, Franco’s Esquire cover ran the subtitle, “For Petey’s Sake: The Guy Is Everywhere.” If only we knew then what was to come. We admit, NYU Local isn’t doing much to help the situation. We write about him a lot. No fewer than three Franco-centric pitches were discussed at last week’s pitch meeting. We’re guilty as charged.
The problem is that Franco’s charm hinges on his alternative cred – his trademark stoned smirk, his aggressive pursuit of several college degrees, and his “sensitive” side, i.e. that he isn’t just another hot actor, but also a fiction writer and a poet. But as Franco overdoes the artsy shtick, it loses its charm. Not to mention, he seems to be everywhere, but is not doing a great job at everything. Oz is mediocre at best, his short story collection was worse than most submissions in Intro To Creative Fiction, and his role in Spring Breakers looks like it’s bordering on farce (though that may be the idea). He may be the archetype for ‘someone spread thin.’
It’s time for someone to reel this guy in. In order for James Franco to regain his cool factor, he has to go underground for a little while. We suggest he takes a few years off from the Hollywood circuit; his upcoming turn on Broadway is a good place to start. A break from the spotlight might give him a chance to dial down his massive ego, or at least dedicate his efforts to smaller, independent films. By the time he returns to Hollywood in the late 2010s, he’ll seem fresh, new, and hip again – just in time to write, direct, and star in The James Franco Story, As Told By James Franco.
Disclaimer: Despite over-saturation and general douchebaggery, this author once spotted an unshowered, greasy-looking James Franco wearing a trucker hat. Despite his disheveled state, my heart pitter-pattered. Given this evidence, I cannot dispute any of the following awards: