Not long ago, I read an article on how James Franco’s career must be over because he was joining the afternoon soap opera, “General Hospital.” The writer speculated over a rumor that Franco was taking the role as part of some career experiment and in fact, it did turn out to be something along those lines. Franco himself has declared his work on the daytime show to be performance art; he had a camera crew documenting his appearances and from that footage, created an exhibition that showed at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. After the widely misconstrued soap stint, Franco went on to star in Howl and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, the latter of which has earned him an Academy Award nomination. In addition, Franco is co-hosting the Oscar ceremony with Anne Hathaway, he recently published a short story collection, made a documentary (Saturday Night), has no less than eight films in various stages of development and has been loading himself up with degrees from the likes of Columbia, NYU, Yale—studying film, painting and poetry. Clearly, Franco’s career is nowhere near being over.
So it should come as no surprise, though it certainly is an interesting revelation, that in his spare time, this young Renaissance man has collaborated with director Gus Van Sant (Milk, Elephant, Good Will Hunting) on another art exhibition—this one will show at the Gagosian Gallery. After watching dailies and extra footage from Van Sant’s 1991 film, My Own Private Idaho, Franco created two separate films. Fascinated with blurring the lines between reality and art, Franco took the footage and deleted scenes and edited them to create something new. According to the exhibition description, Endless Idaho explores the process of making a movie, while My Own Private River is a study on the actor, River Phoenix, going through the transformation to become the character of Mike in Van Sant’s acclaimed film. My Own Private River’s musical score was done by “art school drop-out,” Michael Stipe. For the exhibition, Van Sant also contributed his own watercolor paintings of images that recall his film’s characters. The collaborative show runs February 26th - April 9th in Beverly Hills, CA and you can catch Mr. Franco hosting this Sunday’s Academy Awards on ABC at 8 p.m. EST—apparently we’ll be treated to a little Danny Zuko, Franco style: