Gentlemen, set your Tivos, James Franco is returning to General Hospital. The perpetually busy actor is reprising his role as "Franco", a psychotic performance artist who also kidnaps babies, judging by what I can find on Youtube. The Oscar-nominated actor is committing to a "longterm" story arc, but presumably not longterm enough to impact Franco's other, slightly less weird jobs, such as directing an upcoming Sal Mineo biopic, costarring in The Sweet Bird of Youth on Broadway with Nicole Kidman, and getting a PhD at Yale.
Franco (the character, not the actor) was killed during his last appearance on the soap, a fact that should serve as little obstacle for the General Hospital writers. According to TV guide, the character is being brought back in time for the wedding of Jason Morgan, the hit-man on whom the fictional Franco has a stalkerish obsession. (Can someone more familiar with the world of GH tell me why a hitman and a performance artists are main characters on a show about a hospital? It is about a hospital, isn't it? Is the name a metaphor for something?)
To add to the strange recursion of Franco's General Hospital role, Franco told the Wall Street Journal that he considered his appearances on the soap to be "performance art." "My hope was for people to ask themselves if soap operas are really that far from entertainment that is considered critically legitimate." Franco said. "Whether they did was out of my hands."
If you want to get a look at Franco's performance art/hammy acting yourself, the actor will be returning to General Hospital September 20. In the mean time, you can watch some delightfully odd clips of his appearance on Youtube, or embedded below. I'm not sure what the drag queen singer is about.