James Franco: I’m not a soap star, I’m an artiste

James Franco sat down with scene last month to talk about his MFA and library creepers, among other things, but our time with Franco ran out before he could fully explain why he was guest starring on the soap opera “General Hospital.” Now, Franco has chosen to write about that decision, as well as his love of performance art, in a Dec. 4 opinions article in the Wall Street Journal.

From Franco’s article:

“I have been obsessed with performance art for over a decade—ever since the Mexican performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña came to visit my class at Cal Arts summer school. I finally took the plunge and experimented with the form myself when I signed on to appear on 20 episodes of “General Hospital” as the bad-boy artist “Franco, just Franco.” I disrupted the audience’s suspension of disbelief, because no matter how far I got into the character, I was going to be perceived as something that doesn’t belong to the incredibly stylized world of soap operas. Everyone watching would see an actor they recognized, a real person in a made-up world. In performance art, the outcome is uncertain—and this was no exception. My hope was for people to ask themselves if soap operas are really that far from entertainment that is considered critically legitimate. Whether they did was out of my hands.”

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