James Franco Documentary: Will It Explain or Further Confuse?

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Perhaps this explains some recent James Franco-related weirdness? It has been confirmed that film student and first-time director Lisa Vangellow has spent the last year working on a documentary about James Franco’s life as a part of a film class at UCLA that Franco teaches.

According to a report from TheWrap, Vangellow has been filming Franco: A Documentary since June of last year. The film will explore Franco’s seemingly inexhaustible work ethic, delving into his projects in film, theater, academia, literature, and the art world. Sources familiar with the project said that others appearing in the film include frequent collaborator actor Seth Rogen and Klaus Biesenbach, the curator of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, as well as other close friends and family of the actor.

Maybe the film will also shed some light into Franco’s bizarre experiments with social media, and Instagram in particular. The actor has gained notoriety for posting weird selfies on the service, including one with him topless in bed with another man and one with his hands down his pants. In an appearance on David Letterman last week, Letterman tried to get Franco to explain why he takes the photos, but didn’t have much luck. “For me it’s just a fun thing, it’s something I don’t put a ton of thought in to,” Franco said to Letterman about the weird media he posts.

The talk about a Franco documentary has drawn comparisons to another strange and misunderstood actor, Joaquin Phoenix, who made the fake documentary I’m Still Here, in which he played “himself” as a drug-addicted aspiring rap star. The movie’s director, Casey Affleck, admitted after two years’ worth of filming and public scandals about Phoenix’s well-being that the entire thing was a performance. Even most of the “home videos” from Phoenix’s youth were filmed using actors. Franco has similarly enjoyed making interesting career choices and toying with public perception, so the Instagram stunts could just be fodder for the documentary.

Whether or not you think he’s a talented artist, Franco is indisputably one of the busiest actors in the business. In addition to his prolific film career, Franco is currently performing in a Broadway production of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and teaches film classes at UCLA and USC. The actor recently starred in the film adaptation of his own short story collection Palo Alto, which was directed by Gia Coppola — Francis Ford’s granddaughter and Sofia’s niece. It was also reported earlier this week that Franco and Rogen are teaming up on a movie about the making of the cult film known as the Citizen Kane of bad movies, Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.

There is an entry about the documentary on the website for Vangellow’s production company, but it doesn’t give any details. Franco also stars in the upcoming thriller Good People, co-starring Kate Hudson.

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