The James Franco Project

NY Mag lays a sloppy wet one on James Franco.  Would you ever have guess while (not) watching Freaks & Geeks that he would morph into one of the most random and interesting actors on the planet?  He’s nearly impossible to figure out, but it’s fascinating to try.

Franco washes his hands, and we head back out to the lobby, where he’s met by a small group that’s been milling around—it’s hard to tell if it’s an entourage or just a few lingering friends and classmates, a Hollywood thing or a student thing. Before he turns to walk away, Franco does something surprising: He winks at me. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. As he and Abramovic walk off together toward the elevators, my mind starts to run through all the possible interpretations. Was it a cheesy Hollywood-schmoozer wink, meant to charm and titillate me—the equivalent of a personalized James Franco autograph on our conversation? Or was it sincere, a gesture of goodwill and openhearted, rakish, devil-may-care bonhomie? (Is a sincere wink even possible, here in the cinema-studies department at NYU, in the year 2010?) Was it ironic—a wink set in quotation marks? Was he making fun of me, and of himself, and of the whole vexed transaction of celebrity journalism? Was he flirting with me, or metaflirting—making a sly reference to all the gay rumors swirling around him, and to our strange homosocial trip to the bathroom together?

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