Quantcast
Latest Stories

Only In Hollywood

How James Franco gets to do everything–well, almost

By

FRANCO. Cast as a wizard in Sam Raimi’s latest feature film. RUBEN V. NEPALES

LOS ANGELES—James Franco looked tired and sleepy on this afternoon at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California. But, his spirit was very willing, so he still managed to engage us about his various passions that leave him, well, tired and sleepy.

James plays Oscar Diggs, the Wizard in Sam Raimi’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which also features Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams.

Excerpts of our interview:

Did you learn any magic tricks as the Wizard?

Yes. They hired the great Vegas magician, Lance Burton, to train me on the ways of magic. He did teach me some secrets. I learned how to have a flame arise in my hand. And I could turn that into live doves. I could pull rabbits out of a hat. I spent two weeks learning all those tricks. Then, a lot of them got cut out of the movie. But, there are still some tricks there.

You’re a true multihyphenate: Actor-director-writer-producer-poet-teacher-painter—everything. Is there anything that you would say, “No, I can’t do that”?

One of the things that I haven’t been able to master is a foreign language. I’ve tried so many times—I’m really bad at it. In order to get my Ph.D. in English, I have to pass a couple of foreign-language exams. They’re looming very large on my horizon. I’m very scared (laughs).

What’s a day in your life like?

Sundays and Mondays are my teaching days. I teach in New York on Sundays. I teach in LA on Mondays. So, those days are full of classes. I have the rest of the week for various projects.

Homework

My day usually doesn’t end after the 12 hours of shooting. Maybe I’ll have homework to read for Yale (where he’s pursuing his Ph.D. in English)—or I’ll re-read the books that I’ve assigned to my classes. I just had a show open in Berlin. So, if I have paintings or various forms of art that I need to accomplish, I’ll work on those. Everything finds its place.

Getting a Ph.D. is not a walk in the park. Writing is a time-consuming process. Directing is very stressful. You’re acting, too. How do you cope?

That’s all relative. Harmony Korine (writer-director of his movie, “Spring Breakers”) takes three weeks to write a script. I’ve directed a few movies now. Some were very stressful. I did one called “As I Lay Dying” that I hope to premiere this year. We had a mule-drawn carriage for most of the film. Dealing with mules on a set is very stressful.

Now, I’m directing a movie that has no mules (laughs). It involves actors I love working with. I don’t find it very stressful.

So, who are the folks following you around today with a camera?

They’re filming me, but it’s not because the project is about me—it’s because it allows access to what I do. It’s part of a creative writing class.

The English department at UCLA asked me to teach, I think partly because they wanted more of a film-centered approach or a screenwriting kind of class within the English department but outside of the film department. We’re studying both Disney (which distributes “Oz…”) and the way films are marketed as an example of, as (Guy) Debord would say, the Society of the Spectacle—and how it works in our world.

E-mail rvnepales_5585@yahoo.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Celebrity , Entertainment , James Franco , movie , Oscar Diggs , Wizard of Oz

  • Atasi Mukherjee

    Oh my gosh just yesterday I was actually looking at these particular pics of Franco and I was scratching my head for like 5 minutes and thinking Okays Franco look like he’s in LA but where!! Sheesh guys thanks!! Hey James lol!!!



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94