×

‘Spring Breakers 2’ Producers: James Franco Is a Hypocrite (EXCLUSIVE)

With their Muse Productions shingle hanging on such edgy fare as “American Psycho,” “Freeway,” “Buffalo 66” and “Spring Breakers,” producers Chris and Roberta Hanley are no strangers to controversy, however there’s something in the spring air this year that has gotten them more than their share of colorful press.

Earlier this month, former business partner on the Harmony Korine-directed hit pic “Spring Breakers” Wicks Walker sued Muse and fellow producer Jordan Gertner of Hero Entertainment for breach of contract.

This week, as the Hanleys and Gertner were landing in Cannes to start tubthumping several projects, including the upcoming sequel, “Spring Breakers: The Second Coming,” their star of the original picture took to Instagram to denounce the sequel as “not being done with Harmony Korine or my consent,” acidly adding, “it will be a horrible film.”

The Hanleys and Gertner spoke to Variety exclusively about this Franco dustup, giving back to Franco a little acid of their own.

“Let’s see if I can remember all of the sequels James has done,” laughed Chris Hanley, helpfully listing “‘The Great and Mighty Oz,’ ‘Spider Man,’ ‘Planet of the Apes'” while also noting “and he’s pushing hard to help set up the ‘Pineapple Express’ sequel.

“Franco is a sequel junkie in his own reality, embracing the too big to fail studio system that is his meal ticket to dilettante artistic side shows, while he glibly attacks real independent filmmakers dedicated to independent points of view,” he said of the actor.

“The next spring breakers will make the first one look like some Disney girls trying to get a new lease on life.”

On a more serious note, Hanley noted that the new film will be directed by “Spun” director Jonas Akerlund from an original screenplay by “Trainspotting” author Irvine Welsh. “These aren’t weak or lame artists” said Hanley “and I think our track record speaks for itself.” In Roberta’s view, “We’ve done nothing but smuggle important artists into Hollywood.” Stressing the new film as a fresh take, Gertner said “We had a great relationship with Harmony Korine and now we’re exploring a new incarnation of ‘Spring Breakers.'” Gertner also noted that Muse and Hero “have all rights to all prequels, sequels, remakes, animation spinoffs.” Citing the European legal terms for ownerships, Chris Hanley noted “We have the certificate of authorship for this work.”

Muse and various partners are also involved in a spate of equally edgy projects including their film adaptation of Martin Amis’s “London Fields” starring Amber Heard and featuring Johnny Depp, which has wrapped photography under direction of Mathew Cullen and will be ready for the fall festival season.

Other projects include spy thriller “An Expensive Education,” from the novel by Nick McDonell. Roberta Hanley wrote the screenplay and describes it as “the beginning of a great espionage franchise that explores present day high tech surveillance in great terrifying detail.” The producers are out to directors on “Education.”

And finally, perhaps fastest on the track to productions is their Cannes announcement of Michael Winterbottom’s new film “The Vatican Connection,” based upon the true story of NYPD Detective Joe Coffey. Orignal Edgar Allen Poe Prize-winning tome, chronicling a global trail of intrigue involving billions of dollars, Vatican bankers and a shadowy worldwide conspiracy, was penned by New York Times journalist Richard Hammer. Pic’s screenplay will be penned by “The Messenger” scribe Paul Viragh, working from a draft by Alessandro Camon.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Garin Nugroho film "Memories of my

    Indonesia Selects Controversial 'Memories' as Oscar Contender

    “Memories of my Body” directed by Garin Nugroho has been selected to represent Indonesia at the Academy Awards in the best foreign-language film category. The announcement was made on Tuesday by actress Christine Hakim representing the Indonesian Film Selection Committee. The fact-based film depicts the story of a young man from a dance troupe that [...]

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • The Moneychanger

    Toronto Film Review: ‘The Moneychanger’

    Uruguayan auteur Federico Veiroj (“The Apostate,” “Belmonte”) broadens his usual intimate dramatic scope to diminishing returns for his fifth feature, “The Moneychanger,” . Adapted from a novella by compatriot Juan Enrique Gruber, the period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) tale centers on the eponymous character, an amoral currency exchanger, who winds up laundering some of the dirtiest [...]

  • Send Me to the Clouds

    Film Review: ‘Send Me to the Clouds’

    The social and economic pressures felt by China’s “leftover women” — referring to those older than 26 and unmarried — are examined in “Send Me to the Clouds,” a rewarding dramedy about a 30-ish journalist seeking financial reward and sexual fulfillment after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Bold by mainland standards for presenting a positive [...]

  • Jamie Bell Without Remorse

    Jamie Bell Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse.” Stefano Sollima, who most recently helmed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” is directing from a script by “Sicaro” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. As previously announced, Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known [...]

  • Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter,

    'Downton Abbey' Movie Sequel? Producers Tease That They Have 'Some Ideas'

    “Downton Abbey” holds the record as the most-nominated international show at the Emmy Awards with 69 nominations and 15 wins — and now, it stands a chance to nab an Oscar. More than three years after the beloved series signed off the air following six critically-acclaimed seasons, “Downton Abbey” is making its big-screen debut. “It [...]

  • Todd Phillips Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie

    What's Woker Than 'Joker'? Film Critics Made Everything Political at Fall Festivals

    “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Joaquin Phoenix, playing a deranged incel version of the DC supervillain in “Joker,” the unconventional comic book movie that’s sucked up much of the air from the fall festival circuit. Like an aggro caricature of the “involuntary celibates” who troll message boards online, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content