The unwavering, almost manic fascination the media — that’s us! — had for every film, book, art show, and moderately impressive bowel movement James Franco produced in 2010 was pretty much the gluttonous equivalent of eating an entire pint of Chubby Hubby while watching a Man vs. Food marathon. Afterward, you feel gross, exhausted, and strangely resentful toward both Ben and Jerry.
In a far-reaching interview with Playboy, which reads a bit like a post-mortem on his crazy last 365 days, Franco discusses everything from his penchant for academia, to the “petty scumbags” at Gawker, to the short, happy life of his Twitter feed. But the really interesting aspect of the piece is Franco’s perception of the post-Oscars backlash, which he sees as unnecessarily persecutory and describes as, “‘He’s doing too many things. Let’s get him.’” The actor is generally as self-aware as Skynet, and any celebrity is expected to defend themselves, but he seems especially bothered by this development.
In all fairness, his Oscar stint was no success — he admits as much to Playboy, saying, “I felt kind of trapped in that material. I felt, This is not my boat. I’m just a passenger, but I’m going down and there’s no way out.” Your Highness was a critical bomb, and judging by his expectation-lowering comments in the interview, August’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes probably won’t signal a second Oscar nomination. But the fallow period aside, is it possible he’s right about people’s eagerness to take him down a peg or two? Personally, I don’t think it’s so much the sense that he’s doing too much. I mean, that’s what made us so obsessed about him last year. It’s probably more the post-Chubby Hubby grip of self-loathing and over-satiation, where we just had so much Franco that we can’t even bear to look at him anymore and we promise ourselves never to consume so much Franco in one sitting ever again.
In interviews last year, he seemed baffled by the fact that people had arbitrarily decided to deem him the most interesting man in Hollywood, and now he just seems resigned to the backlash. “Last year people were pretty nice,” he says in the Playboy interview. “This is the year when people are going to have fun going after me.” At this point, based on the tidal charts of celebrity, he’s probably right, but I think it’s more likely we all just need some time to digest.
What do you guys think? Are you still as interested in Franco as you were a year ago, or are you in full backlash mode? More importantly, how many of you are brave enough to admit to eating a pint of ice cream at once? Don’t worry, the Internet is an entirely judgment-free zone.
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