It appears that the student has become the teacher. Full-time academic and part-time Hollywood star James Franco, who seems to possess more degrees than a thermometer, is taking on a new role: Film professor. Franco will be teaching a fall semester course on adapting poetry into short films — a subject with which he has personal experience — to third-year graduate film students at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Ten to twelve lucky prospective filmmakers will call the 127 Hours star “Mr. Franco” — “James,” if he’s cool, or “Teach,” if he’s even cooler. That’s a small class size and will presumably mean each student will have a lot of hands-on time with their well-known instructor. John Tintori, the chair of Tisch’s graduate film department, told EW that he thinks Franco will fit in well among the other faculty, which already includes the likes of Todd Solondz and Lodge Kerrigan. “We had talked about him teaching loosely for a couple of years,” says Tintori, “but then a couple of months ago he started telling me about a course that he’d like to do at some point down the road. And I said, ‘Why not now?’ So I did this thing that I really like to do with filmmakers who are talking about teaching, which is to just go ahead and put them on the schedule. So that’s how it evolved.”
The course will primarily focus on production, which means the students will be responsible for creating their own film based on a work of poetry. Franco hasn’t put together a syllabus quite yet, but he has until the summertime when students start the registration process, and the actual classes won’t start until the week after Labor Day. Tintori says, if all goes well, he can see teaching playing a big part in Franco’s life. “James really loves school and he’s a real academic,” he says. “He really thrives in an environment like this. I imagine this will be something he will be doing throughout his life, being a teacher. With all the other things he’s doing, I think this will fit in nicely.”