Welcome to November, and the second-to-last edition of The Franco Files!*
You know what? I’ll just spare you the time of looking around on the page for an explanation for that asterisk that sits naggingly in the previous sentence and just explain right here: it basically indicates that this is pretty much the end of TFF in the form we currently know it. I am still not yet sure what I will do after this or with what actor/actress I might go with. In fact I’m thinking of drafting up a list of five to ten people and letting you guys decide who I should shine the spotlight on next.
I’ve really enjoyed doing this feature and hope you have enjoyed reading along. I probably haven’t said much about Franco that you haven’t known already, but maybe. . .just maybe. . . I have drawn attention to some of the things he’s helped create that some of you may not have known about before. And if there’s any justice in the world of movie blogging, this feature has served its purpose thus far; it should now be abundantly clear to my readers that I dig what Franco has been doing and hopefully will continue to do with his career.
Francophile #10: Mr. B, Palo Alto
Role Type: Supporting
Character Profile: Everyone loves Coach B. Well, a lot of the girls on the Palo Alto High varsity soccer team do, anyway. He’s a nice guy and more than a little flirtatious with a few of them, in particular the pretty but ambivalent April (Emma Roberts). His laid-back attitude and nonchalance about his inability to separate professional and personal capacities will envelop him in a dodgy, clandestine relationship with a student. Mr. B is a shady character whose personality allows him to stay just on the periphery of being unlikable.
If you lose Franco, the film loses: Franco’s somehow-charming sleaziness. It works wonders with this morally questionable school employee, a role in which he’s never actually considered himself fit to play. Trust me when I say that this is the kind of role tailor-made for those lining Franco up in their crosshairs, ready to snipe criticism at him left and right for exhibiting a school notebook’s worth of despicable character traits. All formal complaints leveled against his character’s actions and decisions are understandable, but if you were to ask this reviewer no one else could do Mr. B better than James Franco.
Out of Character: “I had just assumed I wasn’t going to be in it. [Gia] had been talking to me about other actors for the role of Mr. B. And then after talking to me about other people for about a month, running names by me, she finally said to me, ‘You know I’ve always wanted you to be in it, you’ve been one of my favorite actors since Freaks & Geeks,’ and I thought maybe she’s just buttering me up to play the slimeball. Up to that point I’d done everything possible to help them make the movie, including helping them find financing and everything, so I wasn’t going to say no, I’m not going to be the bad guy. Also, I wasn’t ignorant of the fact that she comes from a Hollywood family, and probably in the back of my head I thought that if anybody has film-making in her blood, it’s gotta be Gia.”
Rate the Performance (relative to his other work):
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