March 09, 2009



Good speechless or bad speechless? I don't think it's fair to write Franco off offhand. At the very least, he takes writing very seriously.

Herman Brown

Re: James Franco. I'm never surprised that B-List celebs get their writing published, but I'm always disappointed. It's like Franco doesn't take himself seriously as an actor and doesn't really want us to take him seriously as an actor. So I won't then. But I also can't take him seriously as a writer when the fact that he is a B-list celeb is what gets his stories published in the first place. Mona Simpson should be ashamed of herself, but she isn't. No one is. It's just another way for some people to make some money. Of course, the problem is that James Franco doesn't need the money. He doesn't have to write, but he's going to because he can, because it's easy. To point out that there are thousands of other writers out there, all of them better than Franco, who could use the money that is being given to him, is a moot point, and also totally pointless as a point. I'm sure the people involved will argue that Franco is a talented writer, but hearing what he's writing about - violence, trauma, teen angst - I'd say he's already committed the cardinal sin of the mediocre in that he's writing bullshit. Franco has either been on a television show or making a movie since he's been 18 years old. Were his "stories" about his experiences doing something that most people will never get to do, like imitating James Dean, Kissing Sean Penn, etc., etc., I would be more than happy to give his work a chance. But it's not. It's about growing up in Palo Alto. It's about car accidents and other stuff. Pass. We already have one Ethan Hawke. We don't need another.


Unless you've read his work, you're just flapping your lips.


Herman is overly harsh, but I agree at least that I'd rather read Franco's take on kissing Sean Penn and being James Dean than I would his stories of typical American teendom. That's not just true for Franco, of course. The problem isn't his celebrity--he seems like a thoughtful guy--it's that his prose sounds like MFA pabulum.

By the way, the Furst link is broken; there's an extra "h" in the address.


Fixed - cheers, James.


We have no idea what his work is like. We have the opportunity every day to extend to one another the basic decency of not assuming more than we know. We should extend this to people who are famous and those who are not.


Colm Toibin makes money?

Herman Brown

You are a much better human being than I am, Mo. More compassionate, more humane, and way more decent. I have a hard time extending my limited sense of understanding towards beautiful 28 year old millionaire actors. But thank God for people like you, who are willing to open their hearts and minds to people who have it much better off than you ever will. That's real white of you.

tod goldberg

I have to say, I know several people who have taught Franco, as well as several people who have taken courses with him, both at UCLA and at Warren Wilson, and they all have said he's an excellent writer. I say give the guy a fair shot.


Um, Herman: James Franco is almost 31 (not 28), his mother is a well-known children's book author (with Simon & Schuster/Candlewick), and his long-time gf comes from a legendary publishing family as well. There are many of us who are curious if not eager to read his writing, and who give him the BOTD before judging him, not merely because he also happens to be a talented (and yes classically handsome) actor/director/writer/painter/student/political activist and sometimes model. Before you judge further, visit www.Twitter.com/JamesFrancoNews


OK, we can keep an open mind with the best of them - but if he turns out to be Ethan Hawke 2009, I know where you live Goldberg ...


There are too many other writers whose work I want to read before I plunk down twenty-four bucks to read anything by James Franco. Writers whose work isn't a hobby.


Why do so many people in the literary community think that only certain people should be allowed to write? And why do you assume that he's not serious just because he's an actor? You don't go back to college at age 30 unless you're serious. Franco's work will stand or fall on its own.

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