Our favorite spring breaker, weed peddler, and sometimes soap opera star continues his year of complete media saturation as a teaser, of sorts, debuts for James Franco’s Child of God, his latest journey behind the camera. The film, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road), will premiere in competition in the just started Venice Film Festival. Child of God tells the story of an abandoned and marginalized young man who digs himself deeper into a life of crime and degradation. It stars Scott Haze, Tim Blake Nelson, and Franco himself, who in addition to directing, co-wrote the screenplay with Vince Jolivette.
The film taps an extremely busy year for the multi-hynenate Franco and marks the third film of 2013 he’s directed and taken to festivals. He’s 2013 began with the Sundance bow of his audacious and provocative drama/documentary Interior. Leather Bar, which posited to re-imagine the lost forty minutes of William Friedkin’s 1980 controversial gay sex club thriller Cruising. The film premiered to interesting reviews, but has yet to see the light of day outside the Park City elite.
Next came the very strange one-two punch this past screen as the widely different films Oz: The Great & Powerful and Spring Breakers opened within the two weeks of each other. The films, directed by Sam Raimi and Harmony Korine, respectively, represented two very different facets of Franco the actor – one part movie star, one part offbeat auteural muse. Not surprisingly, it was his turn as the cornrowed Alien in Spring Breakers that made the bigger impression critically and culturally, even against the Disney-fied machine and box office prowess exhibited by Oz. Franco also played a loose version of himself in the hit apocalypse comedy This Is the End opposite Seth Rogen, had a cameo in Lovelace as Hugh Hefner, and co-starred in the Michael Shannon thriller The Iceman.
This past May, he launched As I Lay Dying at the Cannes Film Festival. Franco directed, wrote and starred in the William Faulkner adaptation which co-starred Danny McBride (This Is the End), Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) and City of God co-stars Nelson and Haze. The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard sidebar at the prestigious film festival and earned middling reviews. Like Interior. Leather Bar, no theatrical exhibition has been announced in the United States.
Now another film festival, another James Franco premiere. Watch the Child of God teaser below: