Dear James Franco,
Stop ruining things I love.
Franco’s book of poetry (because it’s not enough to be an film star/director/producer/theater actor/author), Directing Herbert White, was reviewed, at least, in both the NYT book review and the Boston Globe. More satisfying than the reviewers telling readers that Franco’s poetry is not profound but more like a student project (like many of his endeavors), was their acknowledgement that they would not be reviewing his book if he weren’t James Franco.
I don’t believe that a generation of Franco fans will suddenly be inspired to browse the poetry section. They may be inspired to write bad poetry of their own, but I don’t think he’s increasing interest in or readership of the genre. Just as I don’t think his film adaptations are sending droves of fans to read Faulkner. Frankly, I don’t put that much stock in Franco, or his fans.
Time to stop indulging him and treating him like he’s special because he’s a famous actor/public personality.
First it was As I Lay Dying, now it’s The Sound and the Fury. I get it. I’m glad you like a book.
Franco’s pretentiousness and presumption make me too angry to write about Faulkner intelligently. Of course you cast yourself as Darl, and of course you cast yourself as Benjy (when in reality you’re probably more of a Quentin – Oooh! Buzzfeed: Hit me up: ‘Literary Quiz: Are you more of a Quentin or a Jason?’ ‘Which As I Lay Dying character are you?’) I love both of those books, and I can’t help but feel that he’s ruined them. I’m just holding my breath now waiting for him to go after Absalom! Absalom! and cast himself as Quentin. (Please, God, no.)
I have not and will not see Franco’s interpretations (unless someone paid me to do so. . .and even then. . .), but I cannot imagine he’s captured any of what makes Faulkner’s work so remarkable. Faulkner’s brilliance is in his construction of prose, the fluidity of his writing, yes, his stream-of-consciousness style. Benjy is fascinating because of what goes on inside his head, not because of his inability to communicate or your capacity to look lovingly at a flower. Also, Faulkner worked as a screenwriter; if he wanted to write his novels as screenplays, I believe he would have.
Why can’t you just do what the rest of us do? Feel passionate about a book, study it, maybe write a paper about it, and use it to chat up some romantic interest. Then leave it be. Reread it for your own pleasure and nothing else.
I feel passionate about The Bell Jar, but you don’t see me trying to make a movie about it. . . .I only wrote a short one act play based on the book when I was in high school which put everyone to sleep. . .