Video from a Live Talks Los Angeles event with James Franco in conversation with Judd Apatow at The Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, on October 20, 2013. They discussed Franco's debut novel, Actors Anonymous. For more information on Live Talks Los Angeles, visit: livetalksla.org
James Franco is an actor, director, author, and visual artist. His film appearances include Milk, Pineapple Express, Howl, and 127 Hours, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. He is the author A California Childhood and of the story collection Palo Alto, and his writing has been published in Esquire, Vanity Fair, N+1, The Wall Street Journal, and McSweeney’s. Franco’s art has been exhibited throughout the world including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s PS1 in New York, the Clocktower Gallery in New York, and the Peres Projects in Berlin.
In James Franco’s debut novel, Actors Anonymous, the actors include a McDonald’s drive-thru operator who spends his shift trying on accents; an ex-child star recalling a massive beachside bacchanal; hospital volunteers and Midwestern transplants; a vampire flick starlet who discovers a cryptic book written by a famous actor gone AWOL; and the ghost of River Phoenix. Then there’s Franco himself, who prowls backstage, peering out between the lines—before taking the stage with fascinating meditations on his art, along with nightmarish tales of excess. “Hollywood has always been a private club,” he writes. “I open the gates. I say welcome. I say, Look inside.”
Told in a dizzying array of styles—from lyric essays and disarming testimonials to hilariously rambling text messages and ghostly footnotes—and loosely modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Actors Anonymous is an intense, wild ride into the dark heart of celebrity.
Judd Apatow is a film producer, director, and screenwriter. Best known for his work in comedy films, he is the founder of Apatow Productions and also developed the cult television series Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared and Girls. Apatow's work has won numerous awards including a Primetime Emmy Award (for The Ben Stiller Show), a Hollywood Comedy Award, and an AFI Award for his movie Bridesmaids. His work has also been nominated for Grammy Awards, PGA Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Academy Awards (for Bridesmaids). In October 2012, Vanity Fair announced that Apatow would be guest-editing their comedy Issue, the first person to ever do so. In 2007, he was ranked #1 on Entertainment Weekly's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.