We haven’t talked about James Franco since last year, can you believe it? When we last heard of him, he’d gotten a professor fired for giving him a bad grade, but what is he up to these days? He’s probably smoking weed, and he’s definitely starting to look like the creepy guy who hit on me in the cat section of the bookstore last week. But most importantly, he’s crushing on Kristen Stewart.
See, James went to see Snow White and the Huntsman with his makeup artist, Nana, and Iris, his “Mexican producing associate.” The movie made him feel a lot of feelings, so he wrote a blog about them for the Huffington Post. If you want to read the whole thing, here’s the link, but I’m just going to show you the parts where he’s popping an intellectual boner for Kristen, all right?
Here’s the first one:
Some critics might go after the actors for being flat — Nana said it seemed like Hemsworth was playing Thor in different clothes, and Iris, who worked on the first two Twilight films, praised Stewart but was still reminded of Bella Swan. We discussed, and Iris and Nana came around. They blamed the actors less — I mean, the actors are going to look like themselves from movie to movie; it’s not like they’re character actors — and started to look at the material they’d been given to work with. If Stewart and Hemsworth don’t entirely pull off the romance of the year, it’s the fault not of their acting as much as the script’s structure. And if their previous incarnations are trailing them, that has less to do with their performances than with the overwhelmingly large place their previous roles occupy in our present culture. Whether they heed it or not, those two are under a ton of pressure: Is Chris just an unusually rugged man with a deep voice, or can he play anything other than a Norse god? Is Kristen just a pouty Vampire lover riding a temporary wave of pop culture madness, or is she the real deal? I believe that they are both talented and special performers who make the most of their material in this film.
He actually called Kristen Stewart a “talented and special performer.” I’m sorry, but no.
So, the conflict is ultimately between two females who represent innocent youth (Stewart) and aging beauty (Theron), each of whom is fighting to control the throne. Sadly, this can be seen as an analog to the dynamics faced by actresses (and, to an extent, actors) today. The old guard will always be wary of the new guard, but the fact is that women in entertainment still depend on their looks more than men do. Even two powerhouses like Theron and Stewart are beholden to the dictates of a man’s world.
I see what James is saying here, and I agree with it, but “two powerhouses like Theron and Stewart,” really? Even if you believe Kristen Stewart is a good actress, I can’t believe that anyone would consider her a powerhouse, much less a powerhouse on the same level as Charlize Theron.
Some could say she had a lucky break when she was cast in Twilight and then rose to international stardom based less on her own skills than on the success of the project. But, whereas Snow White would more than likely be inarticulate, diseased and frail after being confined in a tower for 10 years, Kristen Stewart landed Twilight after years of working with some of the best directors in the business (David Fincher, Sean Penn). She actually does deserve the crown.
I know that Kristen Stewart did a lot of work before Twilight, but James is actually claiming that she’s such a huge star now because of her acting and not because of the movie she acted in. There is no way that he actually believes that.
Stewart has braved more scrutiny of her private life than most presidents. She has taken big career risks by doing films like Welcome to the Rileys, The Runaways and On the Road (nudity, I hear). She has worked her ass off. Whatever Snow White may be, Kristen is a warrior queen. Give her the crown.
Can we please see James Franco and Robert Pattinson get into a brawl over Kristen Stewart now?
June 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm by Emily
But Professor R. John Williams, Franco’s adviser at Yale, recalls a different student. In Williams’ obsequious Slate column, he describes James Franco as a model student with, uh, plenty of time on his hands:
So what is James like as a reader of scholarly work? I’ve often heard it expressed that he must be a mountebank, since no single person could be doing as many things as he does. How could he possibly be simultaneously reading for a Yale Ph.D and filming a multimillion-dollar motion picture? How could he possibly have time to write anything when he’s also teaching a class at NYU and starring so many films? I’ve wondered the same thing myself. But on that trip to Detroit, I learned a secret. People think that when you’re the star of a film, your time must be chock-full with endless minutia—appearances, conversations, getting “into character,” and so on. But when you’re the star, you end up just sitting around a lot.
So when you see James’s character with his arm trapped under a rock in 127 Hours, what you don’t see is that there was an assigned reading under the rock with it. When he’s playfully wrestling with a genetically-enhanced chimpanzee in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, just off to the right of the shot was a stack of books.
The truth is, if you’re an A-list Hollywood star like James Franco, and are willing to put the time into earning a Ph.D, you may actually have more time to read than many of your colleagues. Heck, you don’t even have to worry about the grocery shopping, laundry, and other sundry tasks that every other poor graduate student in the country has to worry about. After visiting Detroit, the thing I found myself wondering was not “How does James do it?” but rather “Why aren’t more Hollywood actors earning Ph.Ds?”
So there you have it: it’s always gratifying to teach an earnest student, but teaching James Franco is the most gratifying of all.
In the meantime, John Tintori—he’s the film chair at Tisch School of the Arts—stresses that Professor José Angel Santana’s contract simply expired. No more, no less.
December 22, 2011 at 6:30 am by Jenn
Awww, poor little James Franco! He works so hard getting all those degrees, and some mean old professor thinks he can get away with giving him a D! Not so fast, meany pants! Sure, Franco missed 12 classes, and yeah, there were only 14 classes in total, but I bet he worked really, really hard for those two classes! You’re just jealous! I’m glad you got fired!
Yes, this happened. A professor at NYU is claiming that he was fired for giving James Franco a D and also for being Hispanic, and now he’s suing the university:
José Angel Santana — who taught Franco in his “Directing the Actor” class — is now suing the University for his job back, claiming he was wrongfully terminated … because he’s an Hispanic man with the audacity to give Franco a low grade.
When people found out that Santana gave Franco a D, Santana claims he suffered all sorts of public humiliation — at the hands of James Franco … and the University itself, which ultimately fired him … something he claims would never have happened to a white professor.
According to Santana, other teachers played favorites with Franco, including fellow professor Jay Anania … who Franco hired to write and direct the film “Shadows & Lies.”
Santana groused, “In my opinion, they’ve turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy.”
Can you see this happening? Because I certainly can. Franco’s always been a bit full of himself, and he’s not exactly known for his maturity. It’s completely plausible that he would have the gall to throw a fit for almost failing after missing 12 out of 14 classes, and it’s also completely ridiculous. I’ve had professors that automatically fail students after two unexcused absences, and I thought that was fair. Man, if I was in James’ class, I would be completely pissed that he even got a D. I’d be like “fail that son of a bitch, he doesn’t care, he’s hosting the Oscars.” Ugh.
What do you guys think?
December 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm by Emily
In a sense, Mr. Franco knows all about fan art: during TIFF proceedings on Sunday, Franco visited Toronto to discuss his own Gus Van Sant -inspired art installation, “Memories of Idaho.” (He himself was 13 when Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho was in theaters.)
And that was when Mr. Franco spied our young heroine, Macy, in the crowd. She was wearing a homemade T-shirt (with Franco’s face emblazoned on it) and carrying a painting, a collage, and a portrait made of yarn (pictured).
“I was holding up my yarn poster for James to see,” Macy wrote afterward, “and he did! He smiled, pointed to it, and jokingly said he wanted to buy it. I just about died!”
Members of the audience giggled, but Mr. Franco wasn’t joking. He had recognized Macy’s work immediately. “I saw that one on the Internet, someone sent it to me,” he continued seriously. “I wanna buy those.”
And despite adorable reports to the contrary, Macy would like to point out that Mr. Franco did not “buy those”—she gave them to him for free! (“I would never make James Franco pay for something if I could help it!” Macy writes on her Tumblr.) Macy! Let James Franco buy your work if he wants to! He can afford it!
Mr. Franco also answered young Macy’s questions during Q&A. Since you were wondering about his cats, he flew Sammy and Zelda to Detroit, where he is filming Oz.
Mr. Franco left TIFF with all three pieces of art, including the collage below. It’s brilliant; it’s like a portrait of a teenage girl’s brain.
September 13, 2011 at 6:30 am by Jenn
Now Canadian comic book publisher Drawn and Quarterly, which publishes highbrow stuff by artists like Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, and journalist Joe Sacco, tweets that they “just received a submission from James Franco.”
What the…! How the…! Is James Franco trying to get into the comic book scene, too? Really?
Um. Did Drawn and Quarterly really reject James Franco’s comic book via Twitter? Ouch.
Oh, Franco! You fly too close to the sun!
June 14, 2011 at 10:30 am by Jenn
Between being childish on Twitter, getting high, and being remarkably beautiful, I just don’t see where James Franco has the time for higher education. But somehow he does, and before I let you know about his latest educational endeavors, I’m going to break down all his degrees and college experiences thus far, just for posterity, all right?
- James enrolled at UCLA in the fall of 2006, was allowed to take up to 62 credits per semester (the normal limit is 19) and graduated in 2008 with a degree in English and a GPA over 3.5.
- He then relocated to New York, attending NYU for filmmaking, Brooklyn College for fiction writing, and Columbia for a master’s in writing. Every now and again he went to a college in North Carolina for poetry. He received his MFA in 2010.
- Currently, James is working towards his doctorate in English at Yale while taking some time to do some studying at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Ok, that’s all his academic achievements as of right this minute. Except wait – James just got accepted to the University of Houston’s doctoral program in literature and creative writing. He was one of 20 applicants chosen out of 400, which either means that James is a damn good writer or the people over in Houston must really like General Hospital. Either way, I’m going to send James my very best wishes, mostly because I’m still dreaming of a Freaks and Geeks movie and I want James to be in the best possible condition when that day finally arrives.