Saturday 16 December 2017

James Dempsey: I am suffering the pains of James Franco’s labours

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 07: Actor James Franco is honored on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame during the installation ceremony on March 7, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 07: Actor James Franco is honored on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame during the installation ceremony on March 7, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

THE first time I saw James Franco described as a 21st century Renaissance Man was in January 2011. At the time, reading the blurb on the dustcover of the Hollywood actor’s recently published collection of short stories, Palo Alto, I didn’t even know what a Renaissance Man was. Now, two years later, this unctuous definition of what is essentially a “Jack of all trades” is the singular thing I can recall about his book.

Currently on the publicity trail for his starring role in Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful, one would be hard pressed to find a single article that doesn’t refer to James Franco as a Renaissance Man. The writer/director/artist/producer/documentarian/PhD candidate/professor/musician/poet/Oscar-host – your basic decuple threat – has become an indie icon in his on-going mission to be the most pretentious dilettante in the mainstream media.

Yet, he is a figure so culturally significant that Time magazine referred to him this week as the 21st Century’s first great public intellectual.

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