Arts & Culture

James Franco Loves Directing More Than Acting

He talks to Vanity Fair about his new novel and his favorite authors Read More

By / October 16, 2013

By this point, we all know that James Franco is quite the Renaissance Man. He acts, he directs, he studies, and he writes. In his new novel Actors Anonymous, Franco writes about the world of Hollywood in a series of vignettes. Though there’s a character named James Franco, we aren’t to assume that he’s the same person as the author. He doesn’t necessarily hold the same thoughts or beliefs as the real James Franco. We know what you’re thinking, and, no, it’s not confusing— it’s art.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Franco divulges details about his favorite authors (“Melville, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Burroughs, and Kerouac”), his reasons for writing a novel (“…if I’d wanted to write a book about my feelings on Hollywood, I would have just written a memoir”), and the role he’s enjoyed playing most (“My favorite role ever was Alien in Spring Breakers.”). He also explained which of his many trades he’s enjoying the most:

You’ve worn so many hats: screenwriter, director, actor, student, author. What’s the most rewarding or challenging role for you?

I guess what I enjoy most is directing, because it incorporates all aspects of filmmaking. Directing is in the same line as acting—both are popularity contests, and in both you’re trying to tell a story through the film as a medium. But when I direct, I get to decide what the material is, the approach we’re going to take, and often I get to be both in front of and behind the camera. I get to create a collaborative environment—that I love. It’s less about control, or me wanting to be a dictator, and more about my saying, “This is the sandbox I want to play in, and these are the people I want to play with.” That’s great: I can have all the people I love around me.

We’d love to hangout in your sandbox, Franco.

Q&A: James Franco on His First Novel, Actors Anonymous, and Why There Is a Character Named “James Franco” [Vanity Fair]