James Franco shows us a mixed bag. He acted as the cool, rebellious heart throb in the cult TV show Freaks and Geeks in 1999, he was Spider Man’s charming but villainous best friend in 2002, played a goofy pot dealer in Pineapple Express in 2008, wrote a coming of age collection of short stories called Palo Alto in 2010, which developed into a film in 2013 and starred Franco as the handsome, charismatic soccer coach. He currently lectures at UCLA in the School of Theater, Film and Television and teaches a film class at Palo Alto High School. This jumble of an artist will be making an appearance at Tallahassee’s Donald L Tucker Civic Center as part of FSU’s Golden Tribe Lecture Series this Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Golden Tribe Lecture series is sponsored by the Student Government Association in collaboration with Union Productions. The series features academic speakers that help connect students to their studies and engage them in issues and dialogue that will benefit their academic, scholastic or humanitarian experience. Past speakers include Arianna Huffington, Common, Spike Lee and Elie Wiesel.
Even though rumors swarmed the Internet saying Franco will be attending FSU as a student after rocking a FSU sweatshirt on SNL in 2010, students can let out a sigh of relief because this time it is the real deal, and they’ll be getting more than just a new famous classmate.
“[I’m hoping] he will talk about his writing. It would be nice to hear him [talk about] his process and mostly giving advice to students who want to become writers, like myself,” said FSU student Andrea Terres.
When audiences watched Franco yell “Sprang Break!” with a mouthful of grills in the movie Spring Breakers, it was hard to imagine a profound, creative and literary competent man behind the screen. As it turns out, he proved to be more than just a pretty face who can act when he returned to school at UCLA, and later on became a student at Tisch at NYU, Columbia, Brooklyn College, Warren Wilson College and Yale. The Hollywood figure soon transformed into a literary and academic figure.
“I really enjoyed reading Palo Alto and watching the movie. I liked how it’s a collection of short stories and that they dealt with teenagers. I read this book in high school and even if I didn’t go through a majority of the things these teenagers went through, I knew a couple of people at my school who I could relate the characters,” Terres said.
Franco is the epitome of interesting, but it is a type of intrigue that one does not fully pull from a movie theater or a novel. In each of his works, the audience sees a different side of Franco– whether he portrays a character, a symbol or himself. And who knows what side he will show FSU.
Thursday’s event will be moderated by FSU professor Mark Ziegler and the doors will open at 6pm. Student tickets will be free on a first come, first serve basis.
By ALLISON KRIDLE / Intern Writer