James Franco quits
Usually he’s piling onto his schedule, signing up for new projects, new degrees, new artistic collaborations, but James Franco has, just two weeks before production was slated to begin, dropped out of his latest directorial effort, Garden of Last Days, in which he was also going to star. But he had a tantrum over creative differences and left the production in the lurch, and it will likely shut down as a result.
According to Deadline, Franco walked because the money men wouldn’t support him when the insurance company refused to bond members of his crew because they lacked sufficient experience. There’s a part of me that agrees with him not letting financiers dictate production terms to that extent, but the rest of me wonders why this problem wasn’t resolved the instant the insurance company wouldn’t secure the bond.
When I wrote about Franco and crowdfunding, I mentioned the compromising nature of filmmaking. Franco has some protégés he wants to work on his crew—fine. Good, in fact. Whatever else he does, he is committed to promoting upcoming filmmakers. But if they lack experience to the extent that an insurance company isn’t willing to underwrite them, then maybe one solution is to hire technicians that can be bonded and place the protégés as their first assistants. That way they get an entry into the industry and some experience so that next time they can be underwritten as principal crew members, and the production can still get underway on time and dozens, if not hundreds, of people aren’t out of a job.
When Lynn Ramsay walked off Jane Got a Gun words like “crazy” and “hysterical” got thrown around. Her competence was questioned, and there was a lot of “this sets back all female filmmakers” talk. But Franco walks off a film and the reaction is a calm discussion of known facts and/or an eyeroll and a shrug. No one is pondering what this means for male filmmakers going forward, no one thinks Franco is crazy (because of this, anyway) or is calling him hysterical and incompetent. At worst he’s an asshole, which we already knew, but he’s not crazy or incapable. We still have a long way to go.
Attached – Franco in London this week promoting This Is The End.