The Artist vs the Critic

Lainey Posted by Lainey at April 18, 2016 18:07:02 April 18, 2016 18:07:02

A new interview with The Artist, James Franco, with Jerry Saltz, for New York Magazine. Interesting because Jerry and his wife have sh-t on The Artist’s work before, once writing that “at this point George W Bush is actually a better artist than James Franco”. So the piece that follows is James sorta kinda trying to convince Jerry that he’s not a poser, but also trying to front like he doesn’t care that much. Basically, to me, since I’m an art moron, it sounds like two dudes mansplaining art to each other. I look forward to your emails later educating me otherwise.

Here’s one passage that jumped out though. And it’s about James hosting the Oscars with Anne Hathaway.

James: One of the things that I hope to do — I’m a teacher, I do talks at universities, I do all these things. And I hope that I inspire people to be beginners, to try things, and to not be shut down before they even investigate because of fear, fear of criticism, fear of failure. I think that I’m a good example of that. Now, sometimes, sadly, people will follow my example or will do things with me, and it won’t go so well for them. When Anne Hathaway decided to host the Oscars with me … She had said no before, and then they asked me to ask her, and I said, “Let’s just do it. It’ll be an adventure,” and then we got a lot of sh-t for it.

Jerry: Both of you?

James: I probably got more than she did, but she got a lot.

Jerry: What was so bad about it?

James: You know, I think one of the things that happens in film and television and performance-based things is that people will criticize the performers because they’re the face of the piece. We didn’t write the script.

Jerry: No. You deliver it. But that’s true every year, the critics would say, right?

James: In other cases, someone like Steve Martin or Chris Rock will probably have a bigger hand in the writing of the thing, but Anne and I did not.

Sure. They didn’t write it. But if I were one of the writers, I’d say that he, specifically, didn’t TRY it. He gave up. He checked out. Annie? She was there. She put in the effort. I’d respect it more coming from her because at the very least, she can say that she tried to elevate the material with her own talent – which should be the exchange between the writer and the performer. If you’re the performer and you’ve put your skill to the writing and it still doesn’t work, fine, maybe then I can take your blame-shift seriously. But him? He tapped out and left her to eat it by herself. Why does he get a say in this conversation?

Click here to read the full piece.

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