James Franco jumped the shark big time when he flopped at the Oscars earlier this year. The material was crap but James didn’t seem to try at all, nor did he ever take responsibility for failing to entertain us. Instead it was everyone else’s fault: his co-host Anne Hathway was a “Tasmanian devil,” he “played those lines as well as well as [he] could,” and then got indignant that people dared question his performance. Well it’s more of the same from Franco in his latest Playboy interview. The material was bad, he was trying to play the straight man to Hathaway, and he warned producers that it wasn’t going to go over well. I understand that take on it, I mean I basically said the same thing when I first reviewed the Oscars, but the fact that Franco still refuses to take even a small amount of responsibility for his performance really bugs me. He’s all about pointing fingers and playing the victim while Hathaway has been nothing but gracious about it. He could have come up with a way not to sound so above-it-all by now, but he hasn’t since he’s incapable of seeing it any other way.
On his crap showing as Oscar co-host
“It’s hard to talk about because it’s like assigning blame — not a fun thing to do. For three or four weeks we shot the promos and the little film that played in the opening,” he says. “In the last week, when we really started focusing on the script for the live show and did a run-through, I said to the producer, ‘I don’t know why you hired me, because you haven’t given me anything. I just don’t think this stuff’s going to be good.’”
“I just didn’t want to fight anymore, even when they said, ‘You’ll come out as Marilyn Monroe. It’ll be funny.’ Me in drag is not funny,” Franco continues. “Me in drag as Cher trying to sing like her is a thing. That didn’t happen, so then I just didn’t want to argue anymore. I was going with their program; I wanted to do the material they gave me, not be one of the many cooks doing the writing. There were a lot of cooks who shouldn’t have been cooking but were allowed to. There were some cooks my manager tried to bring in, like Judd Apatow, who wrote some very funny stuff that wasn’t used.”
Still, he gave it his best, with his low-energy performance actually functioning as an intended foil to Hathaway’s highly spirited effort. And when it was all over, the initial feedback was positive.
“After the show everybody was so happy, and Bruce Cohen, the show’s producer, hugged me and said, ‘Steve Spielberg just told me it was the best Oscars ever!’” he reveals. “As far as having low energy or seeming as though I wasn’t into it or was too cool for it, I thought, Okay Anne is going the enthusiastic route. I’ve been trained as an actor to respond to circumstances, to the people I’m working with, and not force anything. So I thought I would be the straight man and she could be the other, and that’s how I was trying to do those lines. I felt kind of trapped in that material. I felt, This is not my boat. I’m just a passenger, but I’m going down and there’s no way out.”
On the “Gay Rapist” Blind Item that people try to pin on him
One blog thread that he can’t abide, though, is the one falsely connecting him with the infamous Gay Rapist blind item that appeared in the New York Post in 2008.
While Franco quickly debunked speculation that he was the anonymous perpetrator — the alleged victim himself insisted that he didn’t know him — it didn’t stop blogs from running the story — and worse.
“Then Gawker picked that up and did this ‘Gay Rapist’ story that was so f*cking offensive because I have friends who have been raped,” he remembers. “They did a very classy online reader’s poll asking which actor who had a big movie out that summer had beaten up and raped his boyfriend and then paid him off so it wouldn’t go to court… My lawyer called them and said that it was completely untrue and to take it down. They said, ‘Well, we’re just reporting what the New York Post told us. If James wants to make a comment on our blog, we’re happy to report it.’ It was a choice. Either let this thing build and become bigger and bigger, or just let it go and let them be the petty scumbags that they are.”
[From Playboy via The Huffington Post]
I feel for Franco over the gay rapist rumor. Everyone did assume it was him and he got tagged with that label online for quite a while. (And I don’t blame Gawker for just stating what so many people were already talking about. Here’s more on that, along with a potential other solution to the BI that is possibly fan fiction.) It’s just that when Franco gets so indignant over everything, when he acts like such a douche and goes on attack mode whenever people criticize him, it’s easy to believe the worst of him. That doesn’t make it fair, though.
Doesn’t Franco look like hell here? He can be so sexy when he’s cleaned up and had a good night’s sleep too.
Franco is shown at an Amfar gala on 6/14/11. Credit: WENN.com