Welcome to March, and the second edition of The Franco Files! Last month I decided to expand this site with another feature, something that would closely examine the impacts one actor can or does have on the films that they are in. TFF is, simply put, a great excuse for me to wax poetic about the work of some of my favorite actors and what their work contributes to the films they are in. (I still can’t decide if I am going to limit this running feature to just one guy or not. . .we’ll have to see if I can come up with another creative name if I want to go with someone else. . . . .)
Last month we kicked things off with a bang with perhaps his best performance ever, in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, an incredible true story of survival. But just because it was a particularly effective performance doesn’t mean he hasn’t had other equally enjoyable, even if less empathetic/significant, roles over the years. This month we have one that is likely Franco’s second or third-most frequently Googled character name. It’s no doubt a classic and I can’t wait to get into some lively discussions about this one!
Francophile #2: Saul Silver, Pineapple Express
Role Type: Lead/Supporting
Character Profile: Mr. Franco shags out his hair for his role as Saul Silver, everyone’s favorite laid-back pot-dealer. He claims to be selling drugs to raise money for the care of his ailing grandmother, though we as an audience are left to make up our own mind about him as a series of ridiculous events unfold, mostly stemming, apparently, from his and his friend Dale (Seth Rogen)’s dealings with weed. Saul is neither a menacing nor a bad guy; he is perhaps just misled. Franco plays this wayward character with a charm that can’t be dismissed. He can’t be pitied greatly, either, however. It’s a role that can be easily pigeonholed into the cliché and/or stereotypical, and there is quite a bit of cliché writing, but thanks to Franco’s balanced and charismatic performance results in a character with more depth than some are perhaps going to expect.
If you lose Franco, the film loses: A lot of its wit, and the core friendship. I mean, Seth Rogen can only do so much on his own (yes I do support the guy — if you’re going to throw fruit, please throw it at your own computer screen 😉 ), but it is with Franco he manages to come off as a natural friend/acquaintance. I’m really not sure who, if anyone at all, could replace Franco in this stoner role. It seems like an easy task but it’s another example why recycled casts often do work. They generate (mostly) good chemistry. Franco and Rogen exemplify that in this smash-hit 2008 stoner comedy.
Out of Character: “I wore Guatemalan pants in the movie, and I was told that that’s what Woody [Harrelson] wears.”
Rate the Performance (relative to his other work):
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