Every day brings James Franco news; some days just bring more than others.
Even by his standards, the hyphenate has been busy this week — penning a meta short story, casting a meta movie, helping the next generation create the next wave of (meta?) shorts.
First, Franco has enlisted his brother Dave to star in “The Disaster Artist,” his film about “The Room,” the cult sensation by unlikely auteur Tommy Wiseau that has been called the greatest bad movie ever made.
Dave Franco will play actor Greg Sestero, whose book “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room” (cowritten by Tom Bissell) provides the basis for the movie. (It’s rare, outside Franco meta land and maybe “Think Like A Man,” for the author of a book on which a movie is based to appear in said movie.)
The book chronicles Sestero’s experiences making Wiseau’s self-distributed 2003 drama, which has attracted a fervid following over the years in spite — and because — of its amateurish qualities. (James Franco previously explored the making of a cult film, of a very different kind, via “Interior. Leather Bar,” about the controversial 1980 movie “Cruising.)
As befits such a hall-of-mirrors-like project, the news emerged during a late-night Los Angeles screening of “The Room,” where Wiseau was participating in an audience Q&A. At one point, Dave Franco stood up and asked, “Tommy, how do you feel about me playing Greg Sestero in the movie?”
The crowd cheered, and Wiseau said, “That’s what I say: It’s a good choice!”
The elder Franco, who is directing, producing and starring in “Disaster Artist,” also posted a photo of his brother and Wiseau on his Instagram account, accompanied by the caption, “Davy Franco and Tommy Weiseau!!!!! ‘The Disaster Artist’ Coming Soon!!!!”
Franco, it turns out, was just getting started. News from the wizardly one continued with an online screenwriting class Franco began offering Tuesday via the site Skillshare.
For $25 bucks you can take the class and learn how to pen shorts from Franco and producing partner Vince Jolivette; if you write one of the better scripts (according to online peer voting) Franco will offer some personalized feedback.
“There’s part of me that also thinks of my younger self, who wasn’t in those film programs, because I really get excited by the idea of being able to share some of our experiences and lessons,” Franco says in a trailer promoting the program, adding he’s “as equipped” as anyone.
And speaking of those experiences, Franco is going back down a meta rabbit hole with a new story in the fiction issue of Vice magazine. He’s written a yarn — maybe fiction, maybe not — called “Bungalow 89,” which features the character “Lindsay Lohan” and has the first-person narrator visiting her at the Chateau Marmont (site of some past LiLo exploits). Once there, he reads her Salinger stories and listens to her musings, while generally having, what else, a literary interaction or three.
As it’s a James Franco story, James Franco interrupts the story to ask, Franco-ishly, if readers believe this really happened to James Franco.