VENICE – James Franco-directed film “Zeroville” used the Venice Film Festival’s red carpet and Sala Grande theatre which doubled as a set on Friday. Franco, with a shaved skull sporting tattoos of “A Place In The Sun” stars Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, pranced in front of real frenzied fans and received both faux and real awards from fest topper Alberto Barbera, who put in a cameo.
“It’s a little movie we’re doing. Maybe we’ll show it here in Venice next year,” said Franco, who was ostensibly on the Lido to receive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker 2014 prize and also to bow his latest directorial effort “The Sound and the Fury,” based on the William Faulkner classic.
“Zeroville” is instead based on Steve Erickson’s 2007 eponymous novel which follows Ike “Vikar” Jerome, a 24-year-old student who arrives in Hollywood in 1969 with dreams of breaking into the movie business, which is in the midst of a seismic shift as the decline of studios leads to the rise of independent directors. Jerome becomes a successful film editor and embarks on a Hollywood journey that ends in both tragedy and discovery.
In the scene shot in Venice’s Sala Grande theatre, Barbera summoned the character played by Franco on stage to give him a prize for his “visionary language” as film editor, and called him Isaac Jerome.
But once on stage, the character enigmatically proclaims: “that’s not my name.”
After doing several takes from different angles in the real-life fest setting, the “Zeroville” shoot ended and Barbera called Franco onstage.
The Venice chief handed Franco a real prize and praised the multihyphenate for “his creative versatility which pushes him to seamlessly be at the same time an actor, theatre and film director, screenwriter, producer, video-artist, soap opera star, and much more,” he said.