Tuesday, June 25, 2024

James Franco: Cancelled Broadway Play Not His Fault

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I read with some amusement in the last few days that Oscar nominated actor James Franco “backed out” of doing “Sweet Bird of Youth” on Broadway this fall. This isn’t exactly true. This column broke the news exclusively that Franco was set for “Sweet Bird” with Nicole Kidman back on November 30, 2010. I thought I’d try and add some reality to this latest chapter. http://www.showbiz411.com/2010/11/30/nicole-kidman-may-get-james-franco-as-broadway-co-star

Franco told the producers of “Sweet Bird” that he could only do the show this fall if it coincided with his famous school schedule at Yale. This was before he agreed to shoot “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” currently in production in Detroit. As his work schedule kept changing, insiders say, Franco asked that the play be moved to January rehearsals with a pre-Tony spring opening.

But then came “Oz” and other projects that interfered, as well as school. I told you on January 3, 2011 that Franco planned to direct both William Faulkner‘s “As I Lay Dying” and Cormac McCarthy‘s “Blood Meridian.”

But the latter, as well as “Sweet Bird” and another movie–that didn’t happen–are all from Tony winning producer Scott Rudin. It may have been a case of too many eggs in one basket–I’m told it was getting confusing because Rudin wanted Franco to do some of the projects, and Franco wanted to do others. In the end, communications snafu’d in all directions.

So “Sweet Bird” may or may not get done. In the meantime, Rudin will bring Philip Seymour Hoffman to Broadway in “Death of a Salesman” this spring, and they will rack up some more Tony Awards. His “Book of Mormon” is sold out every night until 2019 or something. Franco has lots of projects, and no doubt will work with Rudin in the future.

PS Rudin also took a gamble this past season and won big with an original play, which is a rarity–“The Motherf—– with the Hat” on Broadway. The play caused a sensation, made money, got great reviews, and lots of Tony nominations. It also was a tremendous step for actor Bobby Cannavale. “Mother-f” is already starting to get regional productions. Not bad. 

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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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