DID YOU READ

James Franco to Direct Faulkner, “Blood Meridian”?

James Franco to Direct Faulkner, “Blood Meridian”? (photo)

Posted by on

He acts. He writes. He stars in soaps. He’s directed a doc. He makes arty/silly-sounding multimedia projects. He’s co-hosting the Academy Awards. He’s enrolled in, like, three dozen graduate programs.

And now, according to Showbiz 411‘s Roger Friedman, James Franco is in talks to helm adaptations of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” and Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian,” two of the great works of 20th century American literature.

“Blood Meridian,” the rights for which are held by producer Scott Rudin, has been kicking around for a while now, with Ridley Scott and Todd Field among the names that have been attached.

As proof this news is real and not more performance art, here’s Franco talking about the projects with EW‘s Keith Staskiewicz, who notes that the Faulkner novel, which has 15 different narrators and a famous stream of consciousness style, isn’t going to make for easy adapting.

“You want to capture the tone, but you can’t work in exactly the same way,” says Franco. “I don’t believe it’ll feel the same if you divide it as rigidly as the book, like titles that say ‘Cash’ and then you’re with Cash. You can slip into the characters’ heads and give them their inner voice for a while, but it has to be more fluid because movies just work differently than books. Movies, in some ways because they deal in images, are more concrete. I want to be loyal to the book — my approach is to always be loyal in a lot a ways — but in order to be loyal I will have to change some things for the movie.”

As for “Blood Meridian,” which has its own remarkable and distinctive prose style and includes scenes of nightmarish violence which should prove tough to translate to screen, Franco reportedly got the gig by shooting a test sequence from the book, with all the trappings (among them Luke Perry).

Mark Pellegrino (a.k.a. Jacob from Lost) played the Judge — one of the most horrific villains ever to grace a work of American fiction — and the sequence also starred the likes of Scott Glenn, Luke Perry, and Franco’s brother Dave, also an actor. “We made that as a way to convince Scott Rudin to give us the rights,” Franco says. “It was like, why should he give it to me when Ridley Scott didn’t make it? So I called him up and said, ‘I’m planning on doing this. You don’t have to give me any money, I can finance this shoot. Would you just wait? Don’t do anything with it until I show this to you.’ And I showed it to him and he loved it.”

Franco’s also optioned rights to a Sal Mineo biography, and he’s just finishing his narrative directorial debut “The Broken Tower,” a biopic about the poet Hart Crane. And of course he’s made a handful of short films over the last few years. Below is a clip from one of them, 2007’s “Good Time Max.”

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

maryhartman

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

fresno

When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

soap

Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

cooks2

Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

darkplace

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

attitudes

Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

peaks

Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

invitation

Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

stomach

The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

joey

Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

acorn

First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

pointplace

In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

spoils

Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

spoilsdying


15. All My Children Finale, SNL

allmychildren

SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

James Franco, Kevin Bacon Are Their Own Biggest Fans

James Franco, Kevin Bacon Are Their Own Biggest Fans (photo)

Posted by on

The New York Times has a set of 14 videos in which “performers who defined cinema in 2010 capture classic screen types.” That includes James Franco, who flirts with and then kisses himself in the mirror, presumably… capturing classic actorly narcissism? It makes a natural pairing with Kevin Bacon’s new commercial for Logitech, in which he plays a man who’s a rabid fan of, yes, Kevin Bacon “Yeah, my wife says if I watch any more Kevin Bacon I might actually turn into Kevin Bacon.” [Via Vulture]

James Franco and Anne Hathaway Become Two of the Youngest Oscar Hosts Ever

James Franco and Anne Hathaway Become Two of the Youngest Oscar Hosts Ever (photo)

Posted by on

Making this year’s Oscars feel more like prom than ever before as two of the youngest hosts of the ceremony ever, James Franco and Anne Hathaway have been crowned this year’s hosts of the Academy Awards, a post that each could potentially have to abstain from momentarily should Franco be nominated for best actor for “127 Hours” or Hathaway for best actress in “Love and Other Drugs.” One would have to go all the way back to 1975 when Goldie Hawn was 30 (and co-hosted with Gene Kelly, Walter Matthau, George Segal and Robert Shaw) to find an Oscar emcee as young as either in this duo. Amazingly, hosting the Oscars wasn’t part of the Franco’s idea box that he rolled out last year on “Saturday Night Live”:

And in Hathaway’s case, don’t discount the opportunity for a musical number. She showcased her sang her way through a “Frost/Nixon” interrogation at the 2008 Oscars with Hugh Jackman and of course, we still have “Ella Enchanted”:

Five Minutes With “127 Hours”‘s Danny Boyle and James Franco

Five Minutes With “127 Hours”‘s Danny Boyle and James Franco (photo)

Posted by on

It seems to me that a lot of directors in Danny Boyle’s position would just phone it in. They’d follow up a success with “Slumdog Millionaire,” with all its critical acclaim, box office receipts, and Oscar awards by going right back to the well with something like “Slumdog 2: Jamal’s Revenge.” So that was the first question I put to Boyle when I got to interview him and actor James Franco about their new collaboration “127 Hours”: how much of this dynamic and very unusual film about a man (Franco) and his battle for survival after his right hand is pinned under and immovable boulder was about doing something drastically different from “Slumdog?” “I think you should always go back to the beginning,” Boyle said. “Because you start learning. I want that excitement, that uncertainty, that adrenaline to be part of the film.”

During our brief conversation, I also asked about the psychological toll filming this sort of grueling experience has on an actor’s psyche and whether the highly publicized faintings at advance screenings of “127 Hours” worries or excites them. Here’s the interview (and if you’re interested in more about the film and Boyle’s diverse career, be sure to check out this week’s IFC podcast):

James Franco’s “Three’s Company” Art Project

James Franco’s “Three’s Company” Art Project (photo)

Posted by on

Last year, Joseph Gordon-Levitt ruled Sundance’s experimental, installation-based New Frontier Program with selections from his crowdsourced, collaborative hitRECord project. This year, the big name is everyone’s favorite adorably droopy-eyed multi-hyphenate James Franco, whose “Three’s Company: The Drama” is “a multi-media examination of the classic 70s sit-com” that Franco hopes will gives us “a slightly oblique perspective” on the medium of television.

Here’s the entire line-up, descriptions courtesy of the festival.

A Machine to See With
Blast Theory (United Kingdom)
Mixing documentary material, stolen thriller clichés and the films of Jean-Luc Godard, A Machine to See With invites the audience to take risks, play games and connect the fantasy of a thriller movie with the political questions that each one of us must face through interaction with an automated system of interaction and control that navigates the participant through the underbelly of the city. A Machine to See With premiered at the 2010 01SJ Biennial.

All That is Solid Melts Into Air
Mark Boulos (United Kingdom, The Netherlands)
All That is Solid Melts into Air juxtaposes two documentary videos on opposite sides of the wall. The viewer is in between these two powerful videos trying to negotiate the films. One film depicts the Nigerian Guerrilla group that battles the colonization of petroleum resources on their land. The other film depicts stock traders in Chicago who are speculating on futures. As the films play the audio and intensity of the films crescendo to an uproar.

We Like America and America Likes Us (The Corpse)
The Bruce High Quality Foundation (U.S.A.)
The hearse/ambulance is a vehicle designed for both pragmatic emergency response and ceremonial lament. Its chassis astride a fresh piece of asphalt — a corpse on clean sheets — embodies a great American contradiction, a national character with a remarkable gift for survival despite its moves toward implosion. A showing of dark patriotism and a yearning for the possibility of transcendent national purpose while holding the contradictions and let-downs of history, We Like America and America Likes Us (The Corpse) is an allegory of American national consciousness.

SPIN and HIPOCAMPO 2
Daniel Canogar (Spain)
Canogar work explores the short lifespan of the technologies that we use daily. He takes electronic detritus and transforms it into stunning sculptural installations. Spin is an installation comprised of the copied contents of 100 discarded DVDs that are projected back onto their surface, revealing the moving images trapped within the discs. Hipocampo 2 is a sculptural work made of tangles of electric, telephone, and computer cables. Lines of light are projected onto the sculpture creating an illusion of the motion of electricity through time and space.

Three’s Company: The Drama
James Franco
Three’s Company: The Drama is a multi-media examination of the classic 70s sit-com. Television has undoubtedly shaped our world: our increased exposure to dramatic entertainment, the shapes of our houses, the shape of the time in our day. In this piece James Franco hopes to pull television from the box and view it from “a slightly oblique perspective.”

After Ghostcatching
Bill T. Jones and OpenEnded Group (U.S.A.)
A re-envisioning of Ghostcatching (1999), After Ghostcatching is built up from the same motions and vocalizations of Bill T. Jones used in the earlier work, but explores the themes of disembodiment and identity with the new possibilities opened up by 3D projection and a custom 3D renderer. As viewers don their 3D glasses, they experience the virtual movement in real depth.

Theater III + Edgar
Avish Khebrehzadeh (U.S.A.)
Avish Khebrehzadeh’s works evoke fairy tales and dreamscapes, often inspired by her actual dreams and memories. Her painting and video form one integrated work. In Theatre III+Edgar, three loosely linked vignettes unfold. A pregnant woman is carried past a village into the desert where the three men who have been carrying her, leave her. She disappears down a hole with the man who has been digging it.

Moony
Akio Kamisato, Satoshi Shibata and Takehisa Mashimo (Japan)
Moony, by Akio Kamisato, Satoshi Shibata and Takehisa Mashimo from IAMAS in Japan, uses steam as both a screen and an interactive interface. Touch one of the virtual butterflies projected into the vapor, and it will fly away and disappear. But hold your hand into the steam for a while and butterflies will flock around and play with you. Moony received the Ars Electronica [the next idea] art and technology grant in 2004.

The Johnny Cash Project and The Wilderness Downtown
Aaron Koblin & Chris Milk (U.S.A.)
In The Johnny Cash Project participants are invited to create a drawing that is woven into a collectively rendered, hand drawn animated music video tribute to Johnny Cash set to his song “Ain’t No Grave.” The work continues to grow and evolve as more people participate.

! WOMEN ART REVOLUTION and RAW/WAR
Lynn Hershman Leeson (U.S.A.)
!Women Art Revolution is a documentary film exploring and revealing the Feminist Art Movement in the US from 1968 to the present. The rarely seen footage and interviews uncover how the Feminist Movement transformed the art of our times. RAW/WAR is an interactive, community-curated video archive which allows users to access footage, as well as share their own stories through text, images, video clips, and links that highlight the achievements and practices of women artists.

Myth and Infrastructure and Dreaming of Lucid Living
Miwa Matreyek (U.S.A.)
Myth and Infrastructure is a multi-media performance involving projected animation on screen, body, and props. Matreyek’s body becomes part of a layered world of animation, light and shadow. Her strikingly beautiful images lure the viewer into the piece and the story. The dreamy audio is sung by Anna Oxygen. Dreaming of Lucid Living is an exploration of shadow and animation and themes of domestic spaces, dream-like vignettes, large and small cities, magical powers.

Glowing Pathfinder Bugs
Squidsoup (United Kingdom)
Glowing Pathfinder Bugs is an interactive art installation that uses projection to visualize virtual bugs on a real sandpit. The bugs are aware of their surroundings and respond to its form in their vicinity. Viewers can pick bugs up, dig holes and create mounds that the bugs respond to. The piece was originally commissioned by Folly Gallery for Portable Pixel Playground.

ELEPHANT
Deke Weaver (U.S.A.)
ELEPHANT is the second chapter in Weaver’s lifelong project, The Unreliable Bestiary: an ark of stories about animals, our relationship to them, and the worlds they inhabit. Inspired by the literary concept of the unreliable narrator and the medieval bestiary, which gave every living thing a spiritual purpose the project will present an evening-length performance for each letter of the alphabet – the letter representing a particular endangered animal or habitat. From burial rituals to subtle interpersonal communications to post-traumatic stress, elephant and human societies have remarkable similarities.

Pandemic 1.0
Lance Weiler (U.S.A.)
Pandemic 1.0 is a transmedia storytelling experience that spans film, mobile, online, real-world, social gaming and data visualization. Over the course of the festival the story will unfold enabling viewers / players to step into the shoes of our protagonists. The story experience starts when a mysterious sleep virus begins to affect the adults in a small rural town, the youth soon find themselves cut off from civilization and fighting for their lives. Will they survive? Can you survive?

Powered by ZergNet