James Franco. Actor, director, student, artist, teacher...he's a modern renaissance man and though he's teetering on the edge of overexposure, you gotta kind of love an Oscar nominee who also dabbles in soap operas. And while at times it may seem he's just yanking on the chain of the industry that feeds his stomach, Franco does seem to have a sincere interest in truly artistic endeavors, so when we heard that he was going to be working with Harmony Korine, it made a lot of sense in a way.
Details have been slim, but they are apparently working on a documentary-style video art project that will capture street gangs in the middle of fights, apparently using real knives. Well, Vulture managed to dig up a first look at the project and while there is no blood, there are plenty of boobs, so you might want to save a full look until you get home (or just close your office door).
Meanwhile, Franco has optioned yet another book as a potential directing vehicle. Variety reveals that the thesp has laid his hands on "Zeroville" by Steve Erickson. It's a perfectly meta-Hollywood tale which seems right in Franco's wheelhouse about the nature of celebrity. The fable "follows Ike 'Vikar' Jerome, a 24-year-old student who arrives in Hollywood in 1969 with dreams of breaking into the movie business, which is in the midst of a seismic shift as the decline of studios leads to the rise of independent directors. Jerome, who has tattoos of "A Place in the Sun" stars Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor on his head, becomes a successful film editor and embarks on a Hollywood journey that ends in both tragedy and discovery. Characters in the book include Robert De Niro, Brian De Palma, Ryan O'Neal, John Milius, Margot Kidder, Ali McGraw, Paul Schrader and the ghost of Clift."
We hope that Franco does it only so that as part of his method process he actually gets those tattoos on his head. But don't expect it anytime soon. Franco has a habit of optioning projects left and right and this joins the pile occupied by "Holy Land," "The Adderall Diaries" and that Sal Mineo biopic.
As for Franco's next move, he'll be filming the big budget "Oz The Great And Powerful" directed by Sam Raimi. But don't expect him to host the Oscars again anytime soon. As he recently told David Letterman, he didn't realize so many people would care about a show they didn't care about.