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It’s crazy how in a year's time how James Franco went from “the guy” to “that guy”. He’s all over the place these days injecting his weird opinion when nobody asked, taking nearly nude selfies on Instagram, and of course we all remember the other Instagram controversy he was wrapped up in earlier this year with a 17 year old girl. So is it any surprise when James Franco says he’s going to direct a play that he chooses one about a boy who was convicted of rape as a teen? Actually yes, for some reason I continue to be surprised by James Franco.
Entertainment Weekly calls The Long Shrift the tale of a man who was sentenced for rape as a teen and then released nine years later. The man then is forced to deal with the event and the way it has affected his family's life since he has been inside. Subject matter aside, this is going to be a pretty tough task to cut your teeth on for Franco’s directorial debut. Of course, if it was Tom Hanks, we might be weirded out about his choice of subject matter but it’s not...it’s James Franco.
Knowing it’s James Franco, and given the rep he’s had the past few months on various websites and news reports, the shock factor of this play ends at the headline. For his sake, I hope it's really, really good because if it's only mediocre, he may have to contend with a lot of critics who decided at the door that it wasn't going to be very good.
James Franco's play is set to debut July 13th as part of the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s 20th anniversary and will include actors Scott Haze, Ahna O’ Reilly, and Ally Sheedy in his production. This will coincide with his current run on Broadway where he is co starring with Chris O’ Dowd in the adaptation of Of Mice And Men. Part of me really wants him to succeed, as The Long Shrift has already had a history of success on Broadway, but most of me just hopes he doesn’t become another Shia Labeouf and make a gallery apologizing if it fails.