James Franco: heading for breakdown?
He would hate that, you know. He would hate if people started speculating that he’s finally succumbing to the over-extension, the multi-tasking, the school, acting, writing, hosting, directing, all around the world, all at once, all the time for the last 2 years.
Because the whole point was that he made us believe that he could. Until of course the Oscars – the first sign that James Franco wasn’t good at everything, and that when James Franco isn’t good at something, his first instinct is to flee.
As you know, Franco has been tweeting prolifically. Every tweet links back to his page on Whosay and the monetary benefit to him from his relationship to Whosay will be revealed soon enough. The artist can be corrupted, you know. And the artist can be sensitive too. He already tweeted a photo of himself “f-cking the Yale Daily News” – click here for a refresher and see below - and while that particular retort may or may not have been intended as a cheeky response, his latest salvo, directed at veteran Oscar writer Bruce Vilanch cannot be so easily dismissed as an attempt at humour. Besides, I think we’ve already had enough examples recently that, errrm, left to his own devices, without Team Apatow, maybe Franco just isn’t all that funny…?
In an interview with Vulture this week, Vilanch was asked about Franco’s sh-tty performance as Oscar show host and was frank in his assessment:
"(James) has so many balls in the air, he didn't get to town till Thursday before the show on Sunday. And so we e-mailed a lot. But we had a lot of meetings. He had a bunch of people who were writing for him, and if it had been him alone, it would have been different. But it was him and Anne Hathaway, and they both had to be serviced. So there was a lot of communication beforehand. But he didn't get there.
I don't think he realized how big a deal it is to do it until he was actually confronted with it. I think he thought he would kind of ... I don't know what he thought. I thought maybe it was a performance-art prank, and then I realized he sincerely wanted to do it. But it's outside of those guys' comfort zones. The only people who know how to host those shows are people who get up onstage every night and say, 'Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. A funny thing happened ... ' Or people like Bette [Midler] who get up and sing all night and tell stories.
I told (the show producers) what I thought. I liked the two of them [James and Anne], and what I like about them is they both hosted Saturday Night Live successfully, and what that meant is they knew all about working live, with little rehearsal, with many script changes, and a lot of pressure. And that's sort of half of the job right there of the Oscar show.
No, (James) wasn't high. I was with him, and he wasn't high. And I asked him, 'Are you high, and can I have some?' And he said no to both."
Vilanch wasn’t mean. He was honest, and direct, but that’s not mean. After all, he’s allowed to have an opinion, non?
Well, according to James Franco, the opinion was a betrayal. Franco took to Twitter in response to Vilanch’s comments and the posted the following:
Bruce, he let me down.
That statement was accompanied by a photo of the two, with Franco’s pissy pink scrawl perfectly illustrating his juvenile little temper tantrum.
Even the most hardcore Franco fan would be hard-pressed to find a reasonable defence for this kind of whiny crybaby behaviour. I guess they don’t teach you how to be gracious about criticism in film school.
What’s most telling though is what he did after. Franco pulled down the tweet and the photo, only to re-post it, and then took it down again…
At press time, it’s still down. Which would suggest some regret for being all sucky pants about Vilanch’s analysis. It also suggests that Franco was unable to control his impetuousness, that he was incapable of resisting the urge we all have to react with pettiness and spite, urges that are usually doused by careful reflection and calm consideration, both of which are undoubtedly essential when maintaining a gruellingly hectic schedule. And we all know about his gruellingly hectic schedule.
On the surface then, this is simply an incident in which a petulant Hollywood star and temperamental “artist” stomped his feet when he didn’t get his way, feeling entitled to compliments and nothing else. Not unlike Lindsay Lohan. On a more complicated level, it could be construed as a sign that James Franco is about to snap. Not unlike Lindsay Lohan. And that, really, is the ultimate embarrassment. You cut it in half, and inside, at least lately, he’s demonstrating that they’re more similar than they are different.
Warning: profanity within images.