Earlier this month, rumors surfaced that James Franco will be performing a brief cameo in the upcoming Linda Lovelace biopic, Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried. Franco will be playing Hugh Hefner, one of seemingly dozens of interesting roles that Franco had been considered and rumored for this year. Not content with just being in contention for every interesting role in Hollywood, in 2011 Franco spent the time most people would have spent sleeping pursuing bizarre “art” projects that seem to defy the grasp of us non-Franconian rubes.
2011 has demonstrated that Franco’s career isn’t so much a thing that can be talked about, like a baseball game or the weather, but rather that something that is understood and known in seemingly binary fashion, like the concepts of gravity or mortality. So if you don’t understand Franco now, this timeline will read as a list of roles and activities rather than what it is: James Franco’s metamorphosis from actor to some sort of entity that gives me a nosebleed if I think about it too hard.
- It becomes known that Franco is eying two films to possibly direct. Of course both potential projects will be written by Franco. Not one to shy away from a challenge, both projects would be based on books. One written by Faulkner and one by Cormac McCarthy. NBD.
- Franco lets it be known that one Franco alone cannot stand, so he tells MTV that he’s preparing a film for both him and his brother Dave to star in. It would be an extension of the Funny or Die videos that they created earlier in the year. One can only assume that he would write this in between the sentence breaks of his Faulkner adaptation.
- Realizing that he hadn’t announced any ambitious hyphenate projects over the weekend, Franco atones by announcing that he will act-direct in The Night Stalker, a true crime story based on serial killer Richard Ramirez. The film is/was being co-produced by Chris Cornell because it just is, ok?
- James Franco is announced as a star of The Iceman, a story about another serial killer, this time a mob hitman. Franco would not star as the Iceman, but rather some other character that is probably somehow more important to the story of the Iceman.
- James Franco is in talks to star as pornographer Chuck Traynor in a Linda Lovelace biopic. No, it’s not the same role as the one I mentioned in the introduction. Sometimes producers and Franco himself get confused and he accepts more than one part in the same film.
- One day later, James decides that he really should make a decision on those two adaptations he was working on. He thinks that the Faulkner adaptation is most deserving of his talents. He will direct and star in the film because doing only one thing is for terrible people.
- Looking back and realizing how slow of a month January has been for him, Franco steps up his motherfuckin’ game by teaching a class so postmodern and meta that I just took five minutes to look up what “postmodern” and “meta” meant. The Columbia College Hollywood is now offering a class that allows/forces students to “create a cinematic image of James Franco.” Of course, creating an image of Franco without the aid of Franco is comparable to owning a rainbow or clapping with one hand, so he will be teaching via Skype and…the best part…footage from the class will be footage in the students final project. What did you do for your film school project? A film about a kid and his dog? Fuck you. Franco’s is better.
- James Franco take a few minutes to himself, consumes his own arm, waits for the devoured arm to regenerate, then steps into a meeting to discuss playing The Wizard of Oz in Oz, The Great and Powerful. How does his desire to play Oz reflect on Franco himself? You wouldn’t understand the answer to that question.
- Remember that dumb TV show Three’s Company? Franco’s desire on Monday, February 7 is to immortalize that show through both film and stage. How did he reach this conclusion? He was in Park City, Utah for a multimedia installation entitled Three’s Company: The Drama, which is totally awesome. He dressed up like the blonde one. Click the link.
- James Franco is on the shortlist to star in Savages, a much-hyped literary adaptation by Oliver Stone. He tells the director that his availability is most of the afternoon on June 8th, then again between brunches on June 11. He does not get the part.
- Feeling lazy after his Savages meeting the previous day, gets into talks to play Kaneda, the protagonist in the heralded Japanese anime story Akira. He is offered the lead, but turns the role down with little fanfare. (Please note that the link to this story has its own lengthy timeline as well, going only so far as that present day. What can I say? Franco brings out the chronologer in me.)
- The past two days of blockbuster meetings make James feel too singularly focused on film. He opens an art exhibit to decompress. The exhibit opened in Berlin because of course it did, and it was entitled “The Dangerous Four Book Boys” because of course it was.
- Franco, undertaking a project that’s weird by even Franco standards, takes footage taken during the filming of Gus Van Sant‘s My Own Private Idaho focusing on River Phoenix and assembled it in a menagerie he chose to call My Own Private River with a score by Michael Stipe. Lest you think he only assembled one film for Van Sant’s art exhibition, I suggest you stop being an ass and turn yourself on to Franco’s second film, entitled Endless Idaho. It runs for twelve hours. For realsies.
- Ensuring that highbrow melds with lowbrow to keep the universe in harmony, all the while doing it in the oddest fashion possible, plays a character named The Franco on General Hospital. Hold on. That’s only 5% of the meta you’re about to receive. The Franco is gearing up to attend the Academy Awards, which James Franco the non-soap opera character is actually, really hosting in a few days.
- THE DAY AFTER he hosts the Academy Awards, James Franco announced that he is collaborating with director/nutjob Harmony Korine, not on a film, mind you, but a staged fight between two actual LA street gangs. If you’re asking yourself why these two men would do this, then you really don’t get art at all.
- James Franco drops out of While We’re Young, demonstrating that James Franco is capable of dropping out of films that he WASN’T EVEN A PART OF! Director Noah Baumbach is now saddled with the designation of being the 2011 director that made that Franco-less movies.
- James Franco’s film Your Highness premieres. He just acted in it, so it’s really not worth talking about that much.
- James Franco sleeps.
- With sleep still in his eye following a month-long slumber, James Franco casts Val Lauren in the lead of the Sal Mineo biopic he’s directing, simply titled Sal. It’s worth nothing that Lauren looks like an extremely close relative of David Blaine.
- James Franco has a starring turn in the critically acclaimed and successful Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It will be the most normal thing Franco does all year.
- James Franco consults his New Year’s resolutions checklist and finds that, with the year half-over, he has completed not only most of his resolutions, but all the resolutions of the half-dozen art school dropouts huddled around him.
- The continuum of time, ceases to flex for James Franco, his work moving at a clip now only best described as “very busy.” In related news, acting becomes the world’s most lucrative profession now that James Franco isn’t hoarding all the roles. He picks up a role in the Apatow-riffic film Jay and Seth Vs. the Apocalypse.
- James Franco sheds his body to exist in a realm that he cautiously describes as “similar to time, but sort of furrier.” Everyone nods politely and waits for his next film.
- In a performance art piece entitled simply “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” James Franco emerges from the dropped New Year’s Eve ball (just short of its midnight destination), covered in a viscous material that keeps him warm, despite the fact that he is totally nude. He will then manually drag the ball up to the top of the spire, resetting both calendars and time itself to 2011 again, so he can pick up a few of the roles he didn’t have time for. This will repeat for eternity.