Saturday, July 13, 2024

James Franco Agrees to Play Mapplethorpe (Maybe, Sorta)


James Franco is hot as a pistol right now. His “127 Hours” played at the Hamptons Film Festival. So did a short film he directed called “The Clerk’s Tale.”

On Saturday he was helicoptered to Sag Harbor for a “Conversation With…” at the Bay Street Theater with the festival’s former programmer (now with the Museum of Modern Art), Raj Roy.

The theater was jammed, of course, and there were plenty of young people. Many of them got to take a group picture with Franco.

During the Q&A session, beautiful blond documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner asked Franco if he’d like to play controversial late artist Robert Mapplethorpe on film. She said she had an “idea” for a film, but really she has a script. And Franco responded by saying “I’m your man.” Hey–stranger things have happened. Maybe this is the start of a great project.

Later, Timoner told me she does have a script, and also has an idea– a great one I think– of Charlotte Gainsbourg playing Patti Smith, who was Mapplethorpe’s girlfriend, companion and collaborator.

Later, Franco took in “Blue Valentine” to see a great performance by his peer, Ryan Gosling. They may each be in the running for Best Actor this year against Colin Firth. Franco was impressed.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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