First Look: James Franco In Howl


This is the sort of story that we’d often relegate to Page 2, but I’m interested enough in Howl, the upcoming picture about poet Allen Ginsberg, that I want to take the chance to highlight the first photo of James Franco in character as Ginsberg as published by EW. I’ve been following Franco’s Ledger-like emergence as a serious actor with great interest, and this could be a key project in his career. Written and directed by the team of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (who also made doc The Celluloid Closet over a decade ago) the film focuses on the publication of the poem Howl and the landmark obscenity trial that ensued. Sharing the frame with Franco there is Aaron Tveit, playing his longtime partner Peter Orlovsky; compare this shot to actual photos of Ginsberg and Orlovsky after the jump. Read More »

Yesterday, The Dark Knight grabbed Writers Guild and Producers Guild nominations, shocking some Hollywood insiders who don’t believe that the comic book movie has a chance at the Best Picture Academy Award. Today Christopher Nolan and the film have been nominated for the Director’s Guild of America Awards. Here is the list of nominees:

David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”

I’m shocked that Darren Aronofsky didn’t make the list for The Wrestler, especially over Howard’s Ron Nixon.

A Discussion with The Best Directors of 2008

The Hollywood Reporter recently held a roundtable discussion with the six of this year’s Best Director hopefuls: Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), Gus Van Sant (Milk), Ed Zwick (Definace), Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino). David Fincher and Christopher Nolan apparently weren’t available for the sit down. You can watch some video clips from the roundtable interview after the jump. I wish that THR would put the entire thing online, but the most we can hope for is that more clips will be released.
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Movie Review: Milk

When watching a movie with an overt political message at its core, it’s sometimes difficult to divorce the movie from the cause. The film Milk espouses a lot of messages that I believe in, including equal rights for everyone and a belief in the transformative power of community organizing. But does the film succeed at creating a nuanced and fascinating portrait of its subject? Or does it rely too heavily on the conventions that are characteristic of the biopic genre?
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New Photos: Gus Van Sant’s Milk

Focus Features has released 13 new production photos from Gus Van Sant’s Milk. The film will premiere in San Francisco next week at the historic Castro Theatre. Check out 12 more photos after the jump.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

The /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, Dave, Devindra, and Adam chat with Peter Sciretta and Alex Billington about their film festival travels (including a run-in with an irate Harvey Weinstein), assess the greatness of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Sudden Death, and debate what makes an Oscar-worthy performance. Erc D. Snider joins in on the fun as well.

Join us next Monday night at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST as we review Lakeview Terrace with Dan Trachtenberg from The Totally Rad Show.

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The Allen Ginsberg biopic, Howl, starring James Franco as the American weird beard beatnik poet and intellectual has filled out a lovely cast: Paul Rudd, Alan Alda, Mary-Louise Parker (so tempestuous on Weeds), Jeff Daniels, and David Strathairn have all signed. The actors will portray real-life characters involved in a 1957 obscenity trial, which saw the publisher of Ginsberg’s epic, landmark poem, “Howl,” forced to defend the work’s graphic descriptions of homosexual acts and its merit to society. The court ultimately decided in the publisher’s favor.

The indie feature marks the debut of documentarians, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who co-directed the homosexuality-in-film doc, The Celluloid Closet. Epstein also directed The Times of Harvey Milk, which won the 1985 Oscar for Best Documentary, and Gus Van Sant, who directed Franco in this year’s Milk, is producing Howl. Got all that? As if Paul Rudd needed yet another posse. It’s been noted that Franco resembles a young Ginsberg, before the beatnik took on his chubby, bald-yet-hirsute appearance—as played by David Cross in I’m Not There—and joined NAMBLA.

“Fifty years later, Ginsberg’s vision is as relevant as the year he wrote it,” Friedman said in a statement to the trades. “It resonates with issues of free speech, government censorship, militaristic empire building, fear-mongering, sexual conformity and the co-opting of religion.”

The Allen Ginsberg Trust sought the directors for the project. This is def a film to keep an eye on, though I’d prefer to see a full-fledged and objective biopic rather than a damn-the-man flick a la The People vs. Larry Flynt. Franco’s is a role that could have been filled by Johnny Depp in the ’90s, smart career trajectory.

via Yahoo

Discuss: Looking forward to Howl? Do you agree with the director’s remarks? Any thoughts on Ginsberg?

Gus Van Sant’s Milk Movie Trailer

After crafting the critically acclaimed Paranoid Park, director Gus Van Sant now seems poised to follow it up with yet another audacious and powerful film. The trailer for Van Sant’s Milk debuted on Apple today and it masterfully sets up some of the main conflicts of the film (namely, the social climate in the late 1970s, Harvey Milk’s conflict with city supervisor Dan White, and the threats to Milk’s life). The trailer also gives us glimpses of some of the film’s main performances. Along with an unrecognizable Emile Hirsch, Sean Penn looks to give an understated performance as the titular character and Brolin continues his unstoppable career revival by playing White (does anyone remember when Brolin was still cavorting around in films like Hollow Man? I do *shudder*).

[flv: 470 250]

Harvey Milk was a gay rights activist and a San Francisco city supervisor, widely regarded as the first openly gay man elected to any political office in America. He was the subject of the 1984 documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Milk will be the first non-documentary film based on his life.

As always, feel free to leave your thoughts about the trailer in the comments below. Milk hits theaters on November 26th 2008.

Actor James Franco, already being anointed the “new” Heath Ledger thanks to his pop-cult crossover in Pineapple Express, will likely draw comparisons to Dirk Diggler come this December. With a supporting role in Gus Van Sant‘s Oscar-buzzing Milk, Franco will join the magical club of major actors who have rocked fake dicks on screen. Here’s a classy story from the set via Flawed Hollywood

“This scene went on for a long time, like half the day, and it’s getting old… and I go over to Sean and I guess he didn’t know that I was wearing a prosthetic. I go, `Sean, you’re such a great actor but you wouldn’t do a scene like this if they asked you; you wouldn’t dive into a pool naked.’ And he said… `Well James, if I was built like you, I would.’ A couple of weeks later we did this scene, where we’re both dancing and we’re naked, and we both have prosthetic penises. He finally put it together that I’m wearing, like, the Boogie Nights prosthetic.”

Funny. Someone will recall that he does the reverse of this gag in Pineapple. In Milk, Franco plays Scott Smith, the lover and supporter of the nation’s first openly gay politician, San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, played by Sean Penn. Milk was assassinated in 1978 by a man who had previously held his city office. Prior to Milk‘s release, Franco will be seen this September playing the son of Richard Gear’s character in the family drama Nights of Rodanthe, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, tissue sales).

Discuss: What is the bear thinking in the above photo? Who else is in the “hey, look” club? Before certain limp imps throw food below, let me add that this item was recommended by Peter.

First Look: Gus Van Sant’s Milk

First Look: Gus Van Sant's Milk

Back in January we posted the first photos of Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant‘s Milk. Focus Features has now released the first official production photo. Check out our previously released set photos of Emile Hirsch as gay activist Cleve Jones.

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected to any substantial political office in the history of the planet (according to Time Magazine). In 1977, he was voted to the city supervisors’ board of San Francisco. The following year, both he and the city’s mayor George Moscone were shot to death by another city supervisor, Dan White. Mr. Milk was previously the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary feature The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), directed by Rob Epstein and produced by Richard Schmiechen. Milk is the first non-documentary feature to explore the man’s life and career.

source: EW