James Franco felt ‘trapped’ in bad material and Marilyn’s dress at the Oscars

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In the new issue of Playboy, James Franco pins the blame for his Oscar bomb where it belongs –- on the ceremony’s writers and producers.

Franco, who hosted along with Anne Hathaway, tells the magazine: ‘When we really started focusing on the script for the live show and did a run-through, I said to the producer, ‘I don’t know why you hired me, because you haven’t given me anything. I just don’t think this stuff’s going to be good.’

‘I felt kind of trapped in that material,’ he adds. ‘I felt, this is not my boat. I’m just a passenger, but I’m going down and there’s no way out.’

Throughout the telecast, producers kept trimming skits so short that they lost context –- like the fiasco scene when Franco came out on stage dressed as Marilyn Monroe.

‘I just didn’t want to fight anymore, even when they said, ‘You’ll come out as Marilyn Monroe. It’ll be funny.’ Me in drag is not funny,’ he says. ‘I was so pissed about that I was deliberately going to fall onstage and hopefully my dress would fall off or something -- they couldn’t blame that on me; I was in high heels.


‘The plan had been that I was going to sing as Cher and then Cher was going to come out onstage; that got axed when Cher and the song from Burlesque weren’t nominated. I told them, ‘Look, this is the thing people are going to talk about, the images they will take away from the show. Me in drag as Cher trying to sing like her is a thing. That didn’t happen, so then I just didn’t want to argue anymore.’

Franco resisted the urge to bring in his own writers to fix the show: ‘I wanted to do the material they gave me, not be one of the many cooks doing the writing. There were a lot of cooks who shouldn’t have been cooking but were allowed to. There were some cooks my manager tried to bring in, like Judd Apatow, who wrote some very funny stuff that wasn’t used.’ Franco was accused of being so lethargic on stage that he seemed arrogant -– or totally out of it. His take: ‘As far as having low energy or seeming as though I wasn’t into it or was too cool for it, I thought, ‘Okay, Anne is going the enthusiastic route’. I’ve been trained as an actor to respond to circumstances, to the people I’m working with, and not force anything. So I thought I would be the straight man and she could be the other, and that’s how I was trying to do those lines.’


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-- Tom O’Neil