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James Franco Talks Faulkner, Fame And Fake Arms
Actor, director and now author James Franco was a guest on our Monday, Oct. 14 show, where he talked about where he finds inspiration for his varied artistic pursuits. (His debut novel, “Actors Anonymous,” will be released on Tuesday, Oct. 15.) He also talked about some of his favorite literary icons, his use of fake arms in an epic survival scene and why he’s interested in pursuing the kind of literary career that begins with a book like “Actors Anonymous.”

Franco On His Love of William Faulkner

James Franco’s film adaptation of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” is the first of two projects the mulitalent a-lister has on the docket by the great American author (Franco wrapped up filming on “The Sound and The Fury” last week.) He told guest host Jane Clayson, Faulkner has been a life long passion:

“I have just loved Faulkner since, like I said, I was a teenager. There was a period in high school where I was getting in a lot of trouble, and then to remedy that I stopped going out and doing what I had been doing, and I had to fill that time with other things. And one of those things was literature. And my dad, I remember very clearly, him giving me ‘As I Lay Dying,’ and then recommending ‘The Sound and The Fury.’ I remember reading those on a Friday and Saturday night when normally I would have just been out causing trouble I was at home reading Faulkner, and I have loved him ever since. “

James Franco On Being The Man Behind A Novel Like “Actors Anonymous”

“I was writing these stories for my MFA programs at Columbia and these programs in New York. And I had a collection of stories that went together thematically but they all had different characters, and so I guess along the way I thought, if I could frame them as sort of these testimonies about people getting through something or getting over something, or telling these stories in order for other people to relate to them, like the stories in the recovery books do. That they would function as short stories normally do, but that they would have this added emphasis of really trying to reach out and say, ‘Hey look at my story. I understand something about,’ I guess in this case, ‘acting or Hollywood, or trying to make something of my life.’ Or whatever it may be.”

James Franco On The Nauseating Scenes In His 2010 Film, ‘127 Hours’

Franco’s 2010 film, “127 Hours,” — which earned him an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor — got a lot of buzz for a particularly gruesome scene where trapped hiker Aron Ralston frees his right hand from beneath a boulder with a knife. Caller Luke from Boston, MA wanted to know how Franco handled filming the bloody amputation:
“I am actually very queasy around blood especially for some reason blood on my arms. I have big veins. For whatever reason people tell me if I ever started shooting up it would be very easy for me to do that – I never have – but I hate having my blood drawn at check ups and stuff like that. And so I though that that scene was going to be very difficult to get through. Obviously I didn’t cut off my own arm – but they made these very anatomically accurate fake arms that had  fake skin on the surface and then muscles and veins and nerves, underneath so that I could actually cut through them. They had cameras that could do very long takes – we’re talking 20 minutes maybe even 30 minute takes. And so I think we did it with two and half arms all the way  through and they just filmed the whole processes. My friend and cinematographer, Christina Voros … was actually on ‘127 Hours’ shooting behind the scenes, and in her documentary, there’s a little clip of me saying, ‘Hey Danny, I think’  — I was talking to Danny Boyle, I say like, ‘I was actually getting a little queasy looking at that.”‘ So I guess it did make me queasy, but not to the point where I passed out, because one time in high school I tried to give blood at the blood drive and actually passed out, so that didn’t happen but I was getting queasy.”
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