When James Franco isn’t acting, working on 72 PhDs, creating edible artworks with Marina Abramovic or hitting on seventeen year old girls over Instagram, he’s writing stories, novels, screenplays, poems and articles for Vice. While his status as a Renaissance Man is up for debate (and my personal opinion veers between “no” and “fuck off”), his sheer determination to do anything and everything seems never ending. Now, we see the first trailer for the adaptation of his short story collection Palo Alto, adapted and directed by Gia Coppola, grand-daughter of Frances Ford and niece of Sofia, in her debut feature.
Starring Emma Roberts, Nat Wolff, Val Kilmer and Franco himself (because of course), Palo Alto follows an interconnected group of Californian teenagers struggling with school, their families and the vices that surround them. Franco stars as the football coach who begins an affair with the teenager Roberts, which led many people to claim that his recent foray into skeezy pervert territory was simply a piece of performance art for promotion of this film. And if you’ll believe that, I’ve got some Shia LaBoeuf pieces to show you. Did I mention that Franco says some of the stories were inspired by his own memories? Just saying.
While the film has received some good critical word, including a claim that it’s ‘one of the best movies ever made about high school life in America’, many remain sceptical, especially now that the trailer is out. It’s hard to gauge a film based on less than 2 minutes. If nothing else, it captures Franco’s prose pretty accurately. That can be a compliment or an insult, your choice. I’m personally more interested in seeing if talent does indeed run in the blood of the Coppola family.
Palo Alto will receive a limited US release on 9th May.