James Franco Creates 12-Hour Movie out of Behind-the-Scenes Footage from MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO

     February 23, 2011


What do you do in your spare time?  Personally, I like to watch a movie, maybe play some video games, read a book, or hang out with friends.  Nothing out of the ordinary and certainly nothing productive.  What does James Franco do when he’s not starring in movies, winning awards, or co-hosting arguably the biggest awards show of the year?  He’s either going to college or teaching college-level classes about himself or planning to adapt acclaimed novels or making 12-hour movies.  Cinematical reports that Franco has directed two movies that will show at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills.  One is a documentary about River Phoenix while the other is a reportedly 12-hour behind-the-scenes look at the work-a-day process behind Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho.  Hit the jump for details on both films.

my-own-private-idaho-movie-image-river-phoenix-keanu-reeves-01According to the Gagosian Gallery, the exhibit “Unfinished” is from Van Sant and Franco and came about when the Milk director showed the actor some behind-the-scenes footage of River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves working on their characters.  Most people would look at that material, use it to help inform their character, and move on with their day.  Franco, obviously, is not most people, and fashioned two documentaries out of the unused footage.

The 12-hour documentary, Endless Idaho, is described by the Gagosian as

“an unprecedented look into the workaday process of making a movie, from location scouting to repeated takes. Like many of the films of Andy Warhol, a major influence on Van Sant’s own auteur style, it is a provocative, often riveting blend of documentary and fiction. Interviews with actual hustlers who played secondary characters in My Own Private Idaho are intercut with shots of River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves improvising and refining their performances under the direction of Van Sant and his crew. The music for Endless Idaho was composed by Luke Paquin and Tim O’Keefe.”

The other documentary, My Own Private River,

“consists largely of shots of Phoenix ‘s character, Mike, woven into a compelling portrait. Franco describes being mesmerized by Phoenix’s “uninhibited acting” in this unreleased footage, and his edit captures the gifted actor at his most emotionally expressive and physically dynamic. The score is by Michael Stipe, who is an art school drop-out.”

I’m not exactly sure why it’s necessary to mention that Stipe dropped out of art school.

The exhibition will run from February 26 – April 9th.  If you check it out, please send us your thoughts.

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