Home Television “Three’s Company” Reborn as Slightly Risque Drama

It’s unclear if anyone outside of Sundance will ever see it, but James Franco debuted his “Three’s Company: The Drama” last night at the New Frontiers exhibition playing at the former Miners Hospital on Park Avenue in Park City.

This isn’t a film, but more of a video. Franco and friends got the rights to remake the first three episodes of the Seventies sitcom. Franco takes the Jack-John Ritter part. A female friend plays Janet, and a male friend with a dark beard and mustache not quite covered by a blond wig is Chrissie-Suzanne Somers.

Neighbor Larry is played by Franco’s pal Vince Jolivet with a wig. The real Larry–actor Richard Kline–was flown in and shown episode 1 in the art installation. He and his wife were a little taken aback at a few of the modern dialogue changes.

But most of the dialogue was right from the original show. It’s just spoken seriously, without a laugh track. “Suddenly you see how desperate the characters were,” Kline said later. The original Larry, of course, never let his genitalia become exposed, even if briefly. 

The videos were projected on all four white walls of a room that was barely 12 feet square. Viewers were invited to sit on the floor. Once the campy shlock value of the whole thing subsided, “Three’s Company-The Drama” actually settled down into something weirdly interesting. It was not a goof or even an homage. It was actually the freshest thing I’d seen all day after four features in a row of varying effect.

All photos c2011 Showbiz411

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is 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.
3 replies to this post
  1. James Franco is steadily becoming one of the bravest young men in the business. It’s taken me some time to know how to take him: a handsome stoner on a lark through hollywood, an art-house character actor, or what folks have whispered increasingly louder– a very, very smart man.
    I wish I’d seen the Three’s Company installation. Hopefully, it’ll come to us in another venue. He was riveting in 127 HOURS and I can’t wait to watch him in “Your Highness.” The fact that I just typed that sentence speaks volumes!

    (Like your new site, btw)

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