Leave it to James Franco to take a ceremony honoring him at the Venice Film Festival and turn it into a film shoot for an upcoming movie.
Franco was set to receive the festival’s Glory to the Filmmaker award, but the ceremony took a detour when it actually served as the set piece for (one of) his new movie(s), Zeroville. Before Franco accepted his award as, well, Franco, he took the stage in character as the bald, mustachioed film fanatic named Ike “Vikar” Jerome, who has a tattoo of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift on the back of his head. (Franco documented the shaving process on Instagram.)
The Daily Beast explained just how it went down:
Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival, took the stage, flanked by a woman holding a trophy and a medal. He gave a speech in Italian honoring “Isaac Jerome.” Franco got up from his seat, and—looking startled—lumbered up to the stage, accepted the hardware, looked around quizzically, and muttered, “That’s not my name,” before being escorted offstage. The film scene was shot twice—for a wide shot, and a close-up—and the crowd was mostly left scratching their heads for being unwitting extras in a Franco joint.
Zeroville, based on a novel Steve Erickson, sounds like perfect Franco territory. The novel, which takes place amid the changing film landscape of the 1970s, was described in the New York Times as “terse, fanciful, dreamlike and sometimes nightmarish,” which definitely sounds like something Franco would try to adapt. His take on William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury premiered at Venice this year.
The audience wasn’t completely in the dark. Franco explained what was going on, according to The Daily Beast, commenting that maybe the new movie “will be here next year.”