With Reporting by Josh Horowitz
In his new Tribeca Film Festival movie, "The Adderall Diaries," James Franco gets to dig into real-life author Stephen Elliott, a man whose works dance on the razor's edge where truth and lies meet. In the film, those lines blur in spectacularly destructive fashion, when aspects of Elliott's latest memoir become challenged by reality — specifically, that his "dead" father is very much alive.
For Franco, playing in Elliott's world, as Elliott himself, presented a unique challenge as an actor, getting to dive headfirst into the author's "raw" depiction of himself.
"One of the best things about Stephen Elliott's work is he uses himself, always," Franco told MTV's Josh Horowitz about the appeal of the man at the heart of the movie. "I'm sure he gets criticism for that, but also a lot of the attention he gets is because he does that so well and puts himself at the center so well and portrays himself in such a raw way."
"That is interesting to me, just as a creative person, putting oneself into the work," he continued. "Not just in the sense of straight memoir, 'Let me tell you what happened,' but also putting a certain amount of craft or spin on it. Maybe some people would call it creative non-fiction."
The creative license Elliott applies to his "memoirs" might inspire controversy from some people in his life, according to Franco, but that only speaks to the creative goal he believes Elliott's trying to accomplish.
"Some of the people in his life, like his father, will start to question his version of things," he said. "But I think the real Stephen would argue, 'Well, this is my creativity. This is the way that I work. I'm not here to write a memoir. I'm here to create a piece of art.'"