The 2010 Sundance Film Festival kicked off on a blustery Thursday evening in Park City as James Franco and Jon Hamm opened the ten-day movie extravaganza with the world premiere of “Howl.”
The biopic weaves together various periods in the life of beat poet Allen Ginsberg (Franco) as he struggles to find his artistic voice while American counterculture blossoms around him and then must defend that voice when the law seeks to stifle it. Hamm plays a lawyer who represents Ginsberg during the trial to suppress the genre-busting, sexually-provocative epic poem that gives the film its title. Mixing archival footage and animation with the actors’ performances, it is a film about one of the great iconoclasts of the 20th Century.
And when MTV News had a chance to talk with Hamm on the “Howl” red carpet, the actor shared his thoughts on which stars might become the enduring iconoclasts of the new century.
“[I]f you look at Kanye or if you look at Lady Gaga or if you look at people that are just doing this stuff—they’re pushing it!” Hamm said. “I watched Lady Gaga’s performance on ’Saturday Night Live’ when she was wearing this crazy thing with the swirling—she looked like the planets or something. I was like, ’Right on!’ ”
The performance in question took place in October of last year, when Gaga donned a costume consisting of large concentric metal rings that rotated while she sang “LoveGame.”
“She had to awkwardly sit down at the piano and then played awesomely,” Hamm added.
The “Mad Man” star also pointed out that for every Gaga and Kanye, there are handfuls of poseurs attempting to be shocking simply for the sake of being shocking. “We do have a lot of people, at least in our entertainment culture, who exist to push those boundaries,” he said, not ever naming names. “I think the difference nowadays is some people do that more for press or more for the value of getting your name out there or making a splash, rather than the kind of artistic approach.”