James Franco Goes to Star in Sympathy for Delicious and Howl
You would think James Franco going to grad school at NYU this fall would slow his acting career. No so for the 30-year-old who just played Saul Silver in the highly hysterical Pineapple Express. With Nights in Rondanthe and Milk set to release soon, MTV reports that Franco has just signed on to star as a band member and beatnic in, respectively, a dramedy called Sympathy for Delicious and an Allen Ginsberg documentary titled Howl as the legendary poet. Having just finished his undergrad at UCLA last month, Franco seems to be hitting a bit of a stride in his career and education. Two strong roles confirmed and much more in the works - Franco is definitely being put on the map.
Howl is appropriately titled after Ginsberg's famous 1956 poem, which is described as "celebrating his friends of the Beat Generation and attacking what he saw as the destructive forces of materialism and conformity in the United States at the time." Franco says of the project, "It's by a two time Oscar Award winner named Rob Epstein, he's actually a documentary film director. So I'm gonna play the young Allen Ginsberg, the days before he went bald and gained weight. The early 'Howl' days. I was very into the beatniks when I was in high school, and I still am. So I certainly have read 'Howl' many times." For those who are hazy on the whole Beat Generation thing, hop on over to Wikipedia.
Nothing against the literary sect, but I'm more interested in Sympathy for Delicious. Franco will play the lead singer of a band, who competes for the spotlight against an unlikely band member. "[Delicious] is a DJ. This DJ character was written for [Mark's] friend who's actually paraplegic in real life, Chris Thornton, and he's this DJ that has kind of a gift. He joins up with my band and then starts getting more attention than me, the lead singer. So I start getting upset about that." That's kind of vague, but okay. As for the Mark that Franco mentions, that's actually actor Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac, Blindness). "Mark is gonna direct his first movie… [a] drama that’s got comedy in it," which Ruffalo has apparently been kicking around since 2004. Sympathy for Delicious seems a might vague at this point, so we'll continue to keep an eye out.
So what do you think of Franco's future? I have to admit, I never really took to him in the Spider-Man series and ignored him in Annapolis. I am, however, anxious to see him in Pineapple Express and Milk. All in all, these projects sound like some pretty solid diversification for the young actor. But where do you think he's strongest?