Everyone knows James Franco likes to keep busy, but the reason why he wears so many hats is less apparent. The actor, writer, producer, and director spoke to IndieWire’s Eric Kohn about this and more during last week’s IndieWire Honors ceremony, revealing how acting left him “frustrated” after 10 years and he eventually “fell in love with the collaborative process.”
“I always loved movies from a very young age,” said Franco, who received the Vanguard Award (Film) last week. “I used to just be a watcher of movies; I didn’t really understand how they work. I thought all those kids in ‘Stand by Me’ and ‘The Goonies’ were just sort of born into it, and then as I got older I realized, ‘Oh, there are, you know, ways to sort of develop different sorts of crafts.”
He also realized that “there were other aspects to filmmaking that interested me and that my responsibilities as an actor didn’t really cover,” which prompted him to go to film school and “learn to tell the stories from a different position” — hence all those degrees and literary adaptations. “Being a lover of film,” he added, “I think it just freed me up. When I only had acting, I felt frustrated…more than anything, it was really about falling in love with the collaborative process.”
One collaborator he singled out was Harmony Korine, with whom he made “Spring Breakers.” When the project began, “there wasn’t even an outline! There was just Harmony and I saying, ‘Yeah, we should do something together.’ And then he sent over the outline, and it was like, ‘Britney Spears video meets Gaspar Noé.'”
Among other things, the experience emphasized that finding a good director “is maybe the #1 thing, who I’m collaborating with.” Watch the full discussion below.
IndieWire Honors was presented by Vizio and DTS with premier support from Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City.