The creative polymath directs a campaign film for the denim brand, the ending of which will be shaped by fans on Facebook
James Franco has done much to challenge what it is to be an actor today. He's cut through the gloss by shattering a Hollywood screen life, holistically moving into other disciplines: making art, writing fiction and directing – doing whatever he feels like, because if you've got something to express it doesn't necessarily stop when a voice yells 'cut'. Who can forget Franco's Twitter, which went off like a firework and disappeared, stretching the social networking site into something brilliantly odd.
Grafting in the shadows, reluctant to rinse the media puts him in a proper icon lineage – even if he denounces that by having a broader cultural footprint: education and experience is his thing. He has just began his third collaboration with L.A. denim brand 7 For All Mankind, A Beautiful Odyssey, exploring the concept of love and connectivity through a beachside white wedding.
"Love is a beautiful thing. A powerful thing. But there are different textures to it. There's a range of emotion that goes beyond happiness alone. People like to pretend that part's not there, but that's the way passion is. We didn't shy away from that. We went for it – with a vision of a California beach wedding," says Franco.
With the trailer just launched, the creative is again playing with convention by allowing the audience to determine the fate of the storyline through Facebook. During March three interactive trailers will coincide with polls on where the narrative should go, resulting in an audience cut to go with Franco's director's edition, to be screened in LA on April 25th.
We caught up with Franco to talk jeanius and the art of performance.
Dazed Digital: Everyone has their denim staple. What's yours and what's its story?
James Franco: I switch around, I have tons of brands I like. I like sturdy denim, a bit worn in, regular cut.
DD: Can you tell us about your ongoing collaboration with 7 For All Mankind and the film you created?
James Franco: I've done three campaigns with them. We did all of them like art film shoots. The first two were pretty hardcore, but they wanted to get more sensitive for the third one.
DD: You've taken an interactive approach to culminating the film, polling fans through Facebook to determine the ending. Are you interested in seeing film democratised in a broader context?
James Franco: I'm open. This project is mostly about having fun.
DD: Is directing the ultimate role, the definitive performance?
James Franco: Directing is nice because you get to experience ALL the roles in a piece, you're a part of everything.
DD: Has a role ever changed you or the way you relate to the world?
James Franco: Sure. I've had my eyes opened by roles, or found new sides of myself. Milk, 127 Hours, James Dean, Spring Breakers, Pineapple Express, these are all films that changed me.