If the Sundance Film Festival has an unofficial spirit animal, it’s James Franco. In recent years, the crinkly-grinned polymath-movie star/filmmaker/artist/perennial grad student has become a fixture at North America’s ranking showcase for independent film. He’s come as an actor in such films as Howl and Lovelace and as director of Interior. Leather Bar and the short film Herbert White, but also as a producer of Kink, a 2013 documentary about BDSM porn. Franco even enacted a meta-art piece called Three’s Company: A Drama—transgressively riffing on the ’70s sitcom—at the festival’s New Frontier program in 2011.
With today’s announcement of Sundance’s highest-profile and arguably most anticipated offerings—its Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections—comes the news that, yes, Franco is back. He stars in I Am Michael, a biopic about a controversial gay activist who undergoes a religious transformation to become a Christian pastor and champion of heterosexuality. “We do love James Franco. The fact that he was in about 73 films that were submitted—statistically, he had a pretty good shot,” jokes Trevor Groth, director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival. “Honestly, he’s great in I Am Michael. It’s a complicated story and he has great chemistry with his two love interests, Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts.” READ FULL STORY