James Franco Discusses His Recent Projects And How They Analyze What Is Entertainment

Sometimes it’s hard to get a good read on James Franco. The actor is up to a lot — I mean, a really lot — of stuff recently, and some of it seems a little random and not James Franco. MTV’s Josh Horowitz tried to get a read on the actor, who was at Sundance to promote his “Three’s Company: A Drama” multimedia exhibit, and figure out whether the rumors Franco is just pulling a huge joke on everyone actually had some grounds.

At first, it didn’t go over so well.

“It’s no stupider than ’Jersey Shore,’ okay,” Franco said, half joking. “Don’t act like I’m crazy or something. You’re on a network that plays ’Jersey Shore,’ and gets the most viewers out of everyone, so I’m not the crazy one, okay? You play ’Jersey Shore,’ let’s just say that.”

When Horowitz tried to backpedal and rephrase his question, Franco jumped back on the attack. “[My current work] is no dumber than ’Jersey Shore!’ You’re presenting it as if I’m some weird crazy guy,” he said, and then went for the jugular: “You guys don’t even play music videos any more!”

Finally, Horowitz got to finish asking his question: is this all some sort of big joke on the audience. Franco’s long response outlined his basic philosophy for his art nowadays, though a summary of his answer is just ’no.’

“It is and it isn’t,” Franco answered when asked if it was just a joke. “It’s actually the joke at everybody’s expense is watching this stuff and thinking when it’s presented the first time, ’Oh this is entertainment. This is the way entertainment is.’ One thing I’m doing is saying, yeah, okay, I guess that’s entertainment, but what’s underneath it? Why is it entertaining? What is it really saying? What is it really doing? So, if anything, I’m just pointing out the joke the entertainment industry at large has been playing on everybody.”

He continued about the effect of the entertainment industry on Americans, “It’s not a joke, it’s serious. It actually affects your lives. This is what surrounds us. Television and Internet and film. This is a large part of the fabric of our lives. Growing up, you watch television. Now, you go on the Internet. So when you’re trying to make art nowadays or write fiction or write poetry or whatever, that’s part of the material. So that’s why I use a lot of it.”

Do you agree with Franco’s justification for his recent projects, or do you think what he’s doing is a bit too much?