James Franco GRD ’16, we barely knew ye.
The actor-director-student took Yale by storm in Sept. 2010 as a Ph.D. candidate in the English department. The subsequent academic year saw Franco — whose cinematic credits include “Pineapple Express,” “Milk” and “127 Hours”— snag an Academy Award nomination, host the ceremony itself and even squabble with the News in between his grad school obligations. Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit that the man has some serious time management skills.
So the question becomes: where did James Franco go? After a year of magical Franco thinking on campus, his name seems to have vanished from the vernacular. Though the actor was supposedly spotted hanging in the Davenport Dive last week, the world of James Franco and the world of Yale are slowly separating — at least publicly.
Where’s Franco been since last year’s tour de force? Not in New Haven. The actor recently lent his unclothed behind to a recent cover of Flaunt Magazine. He’s also currently working on a salacious new James Dean-inspired art piece, which, reports say, features plenty of sex and violence. He’s also not directing a musical on campus.
At Yale, one of Franco’s latest films, “The Broken Tower,” enjoyed an early screening in the Whitney Humanities Center auditorium Oct. 30. Around two-dozen people gathered to watch the film, a biopic chronicling the life of American poet Hart Crane. Though Franco directed, wrote and starred in the film, he was not on hand to introduce his project. Hm.
The artsy film itself is divided into twelve “voyages”: stand-alone sequences that address individual episodes in the poet’s life, especially scenes of family and sexuality. Beginning with Crane’s adolescence and ending with his suicide at age 32, the film is shot largely in black and white, with grainy images and warped sound. The result is fascinating, but oftentimes a tad unfinished, with powerful scenes set against a backdrop of shaky montages, brooding close-ups and the occasional sexing. Franco’s concern for the poet’s emotional depth is notable, and results in the film’s most poignant episodes. The film is slated for theatrical release sometime in 2012.
But none of this explains where all the Francos have gone. Aside from his graduate studies at Yale, JF currently pursues several other hoity-toity intellectual endeavors, including teaching a graduate-level film course at New York University. He is scheduled to speak at the University of Pennsylvania on Nov. 6.
Maybe we’re being a little presumptuous, but we’re worried our very public spat with Franco may have soured his impression of Yale. We’d take it all back for one more uncomfortable encounter at Starbucks or weird doubletake on the train to Boston.
We guess this is all to say: Come back to us, James. We miss u.