James Franco Signs With Amazon For Next Book

17 comments
James Franco will publish next book through Amazon

via Gawker

James Franco seems like the kind of guy who likes to keep busy, what with the acting and writing and art exhibits and hosting the Oscars and going to 20 different colleges. A lot of people don't really like him, but he doesn't bother me that much. I thought Pineapple Express was very funny! 

The only thing about Franco that does rub me a little raw is that Scribner published his collection of short stories, Palo Alto. And I heard from a reliable source (my friend Tony) that it's not very good. I mean, good for him on getting a book published, but I guess it's easy when you're a famous actor? I don't know. I'm not bitter. 

Now Franco is publishing another book--and this time, he's going to buck traditional publishing to do it. Actors Anonymous, a semi-autobiographical, fictional version of Franco's experience as an actor--will be published by Amazon. 

So, there are two things to learn from this story: 

  • Amazon is not messing around; they have every intention of cutting out the middle-man (publishing houses) by putting out books on their own.
  • It is very easy to get a publishing deal if you are an actor. 

Seriously though, has anyone read Palo Alto? Any thoughts? If you haven't, we could always just talk about Pineapple Express...

Image of Palo Alto: Stories
Author: James Franco
Price: $10.04
Publisher: Scribner (2011)
Binding: Paperback, 224 pages
Image of Pineapple Express (Unrated + BD Live) [Blu-ray]
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez
Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

To leave a comment Login with Facebook or create a free account.

Comments

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry January 5, 2012 - 7:59am

Doesn't make me mad.  It's a good example of the fact that, once your name is known, someone will publish pretty much anything you write.  Should just give everybody hope that, once you break over the who-the-hell-is-this-guy (or gal) hump, you're golden.  The world is yours, Tony.

CStodd's picture
CStodd from NY is reading Annie Prouxl's Fine Just the Way It Is January 5, 2012 - 9:01am

Rumors had him trying to adapt a Cormac McCarthy novel for the screen and that really agitated me. An actor known for portraying pot heads, amputees and an ape enthusiast is trying to piggyback on the seriousness and grit of Child of God, a very dark and very bleak novel. Leave it alone and he should know his place in the realm of culture. The arrogance.

As for this, this is more a commentary on the business of writing. Money follows money regardless on its quality or source.  

 

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life January 5, 2012 - 9:20am

I believe Franco also own the rights to Steve Erickson's Zeroville, which he has plans to direct. I love that book and he is definitely NOT the man for the job.

PopeyeDoyle's picture
PopeyeDoyle from Rio Grande Valley, TX is reading Chronology of Water January 5, 2012 - 9:21am

An actor known for portraying pot heads, amputees and an ape enthusiast is trying to piggyback on the seriousness and grit of Child of God, a very dark and very bleak novel.

I heard that it was Blood Meridian he was attempting to adapt??  That would be an even worse travesty.

CStodd's picture
CStodd from NY is reading Annie Prouxl's Fine Just the Way It Is January 5, 2012 - 9:34am

Zeroville is great and Franco is really out of his league there too.

Its one thing for him to create something and let us see the extent of his talents, broaden our scope of him on film and behind the camera, but he hasnt. 

After all, he is a fan of these great works just like us. He is more like us than not, however, we for the most part are looking in with our efforts and he is sitting comfortably inside it scavenging off of greater minds with paychecks he's received from Your Highness. 

Jason Van Horn's picture
Jason Van Horn from North Carolina is reading A Feast For Crows January 5, 2012 - 10:01am

I don't think anyone can fairly say he is or isn't right for the job of adapting anything; saying he isn't just seems like a personal bias against him. He's no thespian, but some of his stuff isn't bad (127 Hours, Rise of the Planet of the Apes). So he wrote a book and some people may say it sucks. Maybe he's brilliant when it comes to adapting something. Maybe he can churn screenplays out. Ben Affleck isn't someone I'd say is necessarily a good actor either, but he co-wrote Good Will Hunting and has done some pretty good jobs at directing.

I wouldn't say it's fair to say he's trying to scavenge and make a buck off the names of other people. People really need to distance themselves when it comes to books being adapted. The one doing the adapting is still working and writing and bringing to the page work it's just in a different way.

Plus, to be fair, all writers are scavengers. We're all people who have read something that affected us, have favorite books, favorite writers, and have honed our work through the amalgamation of stealing all those elements we liked and passing them off as our own. If we're lucky hopefully the same will be done to us one day as well.

 

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life January 5, 2012 - 10:12am

I guess to be fair I should say he is not the director I would like to see adapt Erickson's work.

CStodd's picture
CStodd from NY is reading Annie Prouxl's Fine Just the Way It Is January 5, 2012 - 11:52am

Well, in the interest of 'fairness', I wonder how the author feels. You envision a world that never existed outside of your own mind, characters that spoke from intimate places of your own collective experiences. Now let the guy who botched the Oscars go and turn it into a movie. 

Its one thing if we've seen something to justify such undertakings. Fincher did "Dragon Tattoo" and we knew that he could handle it. Coen Brothers did "No Country for Old Men" and their resume supported that they could tackle that and be true. 

My bias is surely evident here, no denying. However, in all 'fairness', I prefer the right tools for the right job. 

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life January 5, 2012 - 12:11pm

Franco is no Fincher. Or Coen Brothers. Hell, he's not even a Coen Brother. No one is.

Also, I will be interviewing Erickson this month, and I'm sure as shit gonna ask him how he feels.

CStodd's picture
CStodd from NY is reading Annie Prouxl's Fine Just the Way It Is January 5, 2012 - 12:24pm

Haha, keep me updated Josh. 

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this January 5, 2012 - 12:55pm

Yea Josh! James Franco can't adapt Steve Erickson! That's a task better left to Paul W. S. Anderson or Brett Ratner. 

Jason Van Horn's picture
Jason Van Horn from North Carolina is reading A Feast For Crows January 5, 2012 - 4:50pm

Hosting an award show and writing are two completely different things. It's like saying someone can't be good at adapting a film if they can't jump rope.

I wish I knew what author it was, I think it was Michael Crichton, but someone said once that you don't take it personally and you let it go and be its own thing and let them do what they have to do. I remember reading an author once even saying that if they could've gone back they would've made a certain change that they did with the movie version.

And if you want to talk about people being skilled for making movies, let's take a look at Stanley Kubrick. I think you'd be hard pressed to find critics and film buffs who don't think he was a talented director. Of course Kubrick adapted Stephen King's 'The Shining' and I think the majority of people would say it's one of the better King adaptations and an all-around great movie. What did King think?

"There's a lot to like about it. But it's a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery - the only thing you can't do is drive it anywhere. So I would do every thing different. The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decision to the final scene - which has been used before on the Twilight Zone"

I think the ultimate moral is you simply don't let people have the movie rights. If your baby is so precious to you that you wouldn't ever want to see it changed, simply don't take the sack full of money.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life January 5, 2012 - 5:36pm

Nuts to Crichton. He wrote and directed THIS turd, starring Tom Selleck, Kirstie Alley, and Gene Simmons:

CStodd's picture
CStodd from NY is reading Annie Prouxl's Fine Just the Way It Is January 5, 2012 - 7:16pm

Agreed that one has to let their story go and let it become what it will. However, one would rather let it go to capable hands. Kubrick was one of the most revered names in the game. Whatever King thought of the result is another thing entirely. I'm sure he had high hopes for Stanley knowing that he had contributed such classics as 'Strangelove', "2001' and 'Clockwork'. 

"Hey there, Crichton? Wanna have that thing you wrote directed by this guy name Spielberg? Would that be cool with you?"  "Nah man, rather have James Franco". 

I mean at least give us a sample of his prowess on a episode of General Hospital or something

Right tool for the right job. 'Sacks of money' aside there is a whole industry that effects what happens between the written word and the picture on the screen.  Such treasures such as McCarthy or "As I Lay Dying" should be left to the upper echelon within that industry. 

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 5, 2012 - 8:03pm

I've decided I'm going to become an actor first or maybe a musician or a reality TV star and then I can finally get a book published. I'm not bitter at all...so when is Snooki's book of short stories coming out? I heard Kim Kardashian is rewriting Shakespeare too.

Campbell's picture
Campbell from New York is reading Websters Dictionary January 5, 2012 - 9:35pm

I almost snorted my whole glass of wine reading these posts. Amazing. Stoker, I agree with EVERY word. You are in New York too...? Josh, thank you for posting that trailer. The best thing about that clip is Selleck's 'stache. James Franco can't even come close to growing that ;)

Tyler Jones's picture
Tyler Jones from Portland, Oregon is reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell January 6, 2012 - 7:59am

I read the book, here is my review from Amazon.

"Don't Quit Your Day Job"

I'm frankly shocked by the positive reviews already posted for this collection of stories by James Franco. I was hoping to avoid making the obvious statement, but I feel there's no way around it - this book never would have seen the light of day if Franco was not an actor.

I don't know much about acting, but I realize it involves inhabiting the psyche of a single person for the duration of a film. Writing however, involves probing the minds of multiple characters and keeping track of their personalities and the stories in which they are a part of. Franco may be a competent actor, but he is no writer.

These stories, averaging ten pages each, constitute some of the worst writing I've ever had the displeasure to read. Not only are they bad, they are offensive in almost every regard. If you are going to subject your audience to teenagers engaged in horrific and senseless sexual behavior and acts of violence, you better have some damn good prose to make it all seem surreal.

Franco writes in a pseudo-minimalist style that is trying to be some sort of Denis Johnson/Raymond Carver hybrid, but acheives neither. Johnson is incredibly poetic and incisive while creating characters we actually care about. Franco's bunch of degenerates have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. They are lost and hopeless, but unfortunately they are never tragic. Tragic would imply that these people are aware of how lost they are.

Take any Carver story and look at the emotion evoked by these poor wretched people just barely scraping by. This is because Carver cares about his characters, he wants to see them do what's right even though he knows they won't.

I went into this book with an open mind. I wanted to like it. I was hoping that Franco would impress me. I walked away disgusted and disappointed. If I may be so bold, he seems enamored by the "literary author" image, but lacks the chops to fully inhabit it.

Ammendment:
These quotes from other recognized literary authors sound like they've been paid to drool all over Franco's book. Who gives blurbs like these unless you've gotten money to sound this enraptured?

"Franco's talent is unmistakable, his ambition profound." "This is a book to be inhaled more than once, with delight and admiration."
--Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story

"Franco's intense artistry swarms all over this gripping book"
--Ben Marcus, author of Notable American Women

Intense artistry? Profound ambition?

Okay...now everyone bow down to Hollywood...all together now.

***************************************************************************'

I especially like Marcus quote and the visual that "swarming artistry" creates.