July 2, 2012

Artist/actor/writer/student/director/vacuum cleaner salesman James Franco has been everywhere for quite some time, but there’s still room for him to be even more omnipresent. Beginning with the July/August issue, he’ll contribute a column called “Francofile” to Playboy, the first of which will be a Q&A with Marina Abramovic about “space, energy and magic.” It’s a convenient publicity boost for Playboy, as their circulation has been falling for quite some time. Franco is certainly a fine writer: his prose is graceful, if a bit stiff at times, and though his perspective is certainly arguable, he never comes across as less than thoughtful. At the same time, it’s a little hard to separate where Franco the talent and Franco the commodity meet, and it’s a little difficult to imagine he’d be getting by on such boilerplate pitches—interviews with Marina Abramovic are so last month—were he an anonymous writer, and not someone who’d kissed Kirsten Dunst on the big screen. But I can only go so far in faulting a dude who’s simply maximizing his resources to become the best modern-day Renaissance man he can be.

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