January 16, 2012
As you know, I’ve been looking for a signature role in a career-defining picture for a number of years now. As I do so many things at a high level (actor, academic, teacher, artist, sex symbol, philanthropist, Oscar host, film maker, serious writer, etcetera…) the public is having a difficult time framing “James Franco” in their minds. Although I don’t want to be immodest, I’m just too complicated, too much of a Renaissance man for the Average Joe to process. It’s so hard for them to be just one thing (personal trainer, limo driver, for example), that it must be pretty near impossible for one of them to imagine a person of greater talent, courage, looks and intellect, being so many of their dreams all at once, as I do.
It can be a bit of a burden, Harvey, which is why I need to burn myself into their minds in a singular, defining cinematic experience.
The movie we need to make, which will sweep the awards, earn us a fortune and be written by me, starring me and directed by me, is to be titled: It’s Dark And You Want to Go Home.
Do you know this quote?
It’s attributed to an Italian Coast Guard officer who was rebuking the Captain of the sinking luxury cruise liner the Costa Concordia. (It sank on Friday the 13th, which is another brilliant texture to include in my treatment.) I sometimes forget that not everybody is as well informed as I am. It’s a European story, one involving Italians, so it might not have penetrated the American consciousness, although there were US tourists involved, as there always are.
Short form: Cruise liner runs aground, 11 people killed, 21 missing. The Captain, (who I will play) Francesco Schettino, is reported to have been negligent, causing the disaster and abandoning the ship in a cowardly manner. He said he accidentally tripped and fell into a lifeboat. I would like to grow a mustache to play this role.
The public loves James Franco in a mustache, and by doing so I am displaying my range, letting the public know that I am a physical and not just an intellectual actor.
My parents met as Stanford you know, and my mother was a poet.
I would like to make the captain a great, yet undiscovered poet.
You should envision this picture as Dances With Wolves meets Titanic meets Avatar.
Only in 3-Fucking-D.
The movie will be an extravaganza recalling the disaster films of the 1970’s!
The script will be densely packed with literary allusions, but not so much that it will be too talky and fly over the heads of our target audience, which is everybody. There will be multiple narrative threads, all sexy and dangerous and smart, with unexpected plot twists and moments of heart-breaking tenderness as well as white-knuckled adventure, terror and action. I will have my shirt off for many of the water scenes.
Let me give you a couple of hits:
The Captain: Played by me with a mustache, he will be complex. A deep man who is misunderstood, he will actually be the hero of the picture and not the villain as has been portrayed so unfairly in the media. …He has multiple love interests. (see complexity.) Anne Hathaway, who has shown a willingness to appear naked in films and has an obvious chemistry with me as evidenced by the Academy Awards, will be my primary love interest. She will be a successful New York poet and a little uptight, but she is drawn to the Captain’s feral masculinity and his unlettered (I will be acting up a storm, here) genius. They will have a complex relationship. There will be supermodel photo shoot taking place on the cruise. I would like to see Bar Refaeli, Kate Upton and perhaps an unknown Russian offered roles. They will be having a competition within their group to sleep with the Captain, who they all find mysterious and brooding.
The Cast of Jersey Shore will also be on the cruise shooting an episode of their show. I am getting very post-modern, rendering our film a Meta-experience, but still very accessible. I want to show that they are not accurate representations of Italian people, and we will see from their cowardly and self-interested response to the crisis that they represent America at her worst and have nothing to do with the glorious, art-filled culture of Italy, where I have two homes and am making an offer on a third. There will be an Occupy the Luxury Liner Movement on board, too. Young, optimistic and attractive, they will have managed to get on the cruise to bring attention to the fact that there are inequalities in the world that need to be addressed. There will be a skinny dipping scene, in the rain, at night. The Captain will be sympathetic with the Occupy the Luxury Liner Movement, a group that will be naturally antagonistic with the crew from “Jersey Shore,” but in the end as the ship is sinking, the sexy Occupy kids will save the Jersey Shore crew from drowning. Lessons learned. Natalie Portman will be another one of the Captain’s love interests. She will be part of a tour group of young Jewish mothers, but she will be unlike the other women and find herself drawn to the mysterious world that the Captain represents. Natalie Portman will die in the end, but her baby will live. (Names for baby? Aqua? Hope?) Kate Winslet will play a nun, echoing her role in Titanic.
Several rescued Chilean Miners will be on the ship, too, still recovering from the trauma they suffered in the dark, soulless hole of commerce where they had been trapped. They will speak in Chilean and we will have subtitles, like in the movie Babel. The miners and their families will all die in the end.
We are making a prestige film with broad commercial appeal, here.
The movie will cost $400 million to make.
In the end, the misunderstood Captain will, by escaping into the lifeboat, actually be behaving heroically, absorbing all the responsibility for the disaster that was actually caused by the stuck-up poet character played by Anne Hathaway. It will be revealed at the end that she is a plagiarist who has been stealing the poetry of the Captain. More importantly, as the Captain — with great sorrow — gets into the lifeboat, we see that he has something in his hands. It looks like a map, maybe a poem.
The sequel will involve this, as the Captain achieves redemption by leading a heroic salvage mission in order to secure some green technology that one of the brilliant, young Occupy Luxury Liners protestors had and was secretly transporting to market away from a rapacious oil company before the ship sank under the weight of the system.* Only the Captain knew this at the time, and that was why he, as much as it pained him, had to flee the ship.
The fate of the world rested on his sturdy shoulders.
Let’s make this happen!
Sum ego meum opus maximum,
* Fassbender will play evil competing salvage Captain.