James Franco and Chris O'dowd's Broadway revival of John Steinbeck's classic novel Of Mice And Men bowed out on a box office high as it closed on Sunday (27Jul14) after raking in just under $1.04 million (£611,765) for the week's eight performances. The big figure set a new record for the show's venue, the Longacre Theatre, as it was the first time one of its productions had crossed the $1 million (£588,235) mark. The play had already recouped its $3.8 million (£2.24 million) investment in its first 12 weeks on the Great White Way.
James Franco's directorial debut on the New York stage has been savaged by critics. The Spider-Man star, who is currently starring in a Broadway production of Of Mice and Men, has also been working on an off-Broadway show during his time in New York.
Franco's staging of Robert Boswell's play The Long Shrift, starring his ex-girlfriend Ahna O'Reilly, opened at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater on Sunday night (13Jul14) and received a number of scathing reviews from critics.
Variety's Marilyn Stasio calls the play "preposterous" and "phony" and takes aim at lead actor Scott Haze, accusing him of mimicking his director's acting style, writing, "Unfortunately, Franco isn't the star but the director of this play, and he's entrusted the lead to a thesp who hasn't a clue what to do - except imitate James Franco."
Frank Scheck of the New York Post gives the production one star out of five and writes, "Somehow, between doing eight shows a week of Of Mice and Men, teaching, making movies and flirting on Instagram, James Franco's found time to make his stage directorial debut. Judging from his work on The Long Shrift... there's a limit to his talents."
The New York Times' Alexis Soloski also had harsh words for Franco's work, calling the show "untidy, at times annoying, at times ridiculous," but added, "Mr. Franco achieves mixed success as a first-time Off Broadway director. The rhythms of the first scene are a mess, a section at the reunion too sensational... and many of the lines sound downright weird in the actors' mouths. Yet Mr. Franco elicits emotionally vivid performances from his cast."
Franco previously won mixed reviews for his Broadway acting debut in Of Mice and Men and chastised New York Times writer Ben Brantley with a foul-mouth rant for giving his performance a less-than flattering write-up.
James Franco showed off his backside for hundreds of fans at the annual Broadway Bares fundraiser in New York City on Sunday (22Jun14). The Oscar-nominated actor, who is currently starring in Of Mice and Men on the Great White Way, was one of the many theatre stars who took to the stage at the Hammerstein Ballroom to raise money for HIV support organisation Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Franco took part in a sketch in which he attempted to gain entry into a fictional nightclub, and when the bouncer blocked him from going in, Franco said, "Don't you know who I am?"
Drag queen/reality TV star Bianca Del Rio stepped in to save Franco, but told him to "face the wall" so she could give him a "cavity search".
Del Rio exclaimed, "Just so you know, Franco, this won't be as painful as you hosting the Oscars," then proceeded to rip his pants down to expose his bare bottom to the crowd of eager fans.
The event, now in its 24th year, also included appearances from Broadway favourites Alan Cumming and Constantine Maroulis.
Iron Maiden, Killswitch Engage and Avenged Sevenfold were among the big winners at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in London on Monday night (16Jun14). Singer Bruce Dickinson's group was named Best U.K. Band, while Avenged Sevenfold and Killswitch Engage picked up Best International Band and Best Live Band, respectively.
There were also big wins for Devil You Know, Alter Bridge star Mark Tremonti and veterans Michael Schenker and Hanoi Rocks, while Star Wars icon Dave Prowse was handed the Spirit of Hammer Award for his portrayal of Darth Vader.
The Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards 2014 winners list is:
Best New Band - Devil You Know
Dimebag Darrell Shredder Award - Misha Mansoor of Periphery
Breakthrough Artist - Of Mice & Men
Best Underground Band - Wardruna
Best U.K. Band - Iron Maiden
Best Live Band - Killswitch Engage
Best International Band - Avenged Sevenfold
Global Metal Act - Orphaned Land & Khalas
Riff Lord - Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge
King Of The Internet - Devin Townsend
Inspiration Award - Hanoi Rocks
Album Of The Year - The Satanist by Behemoth
Icon Award - Michael Schenker
Spirit Of Hammer - Dave Prowse
The Golden God Award - Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth
Game Of The Year - Grand Theft Auto V
Video Of The Year - Party Like It's The End Of The World by Steel Panther
James Franco will direct his ex-girlfriend Ahna O'reilly in a new off-Broadway production of Robert Boswell's play The Long Shrift.
The Milk actor is currently wowing audiences on Broadway with his star turn in Of Mice and Men alongside Irish actor Chris O'Dowd at the Longacre Theatre, but he will head over to off-Broadway venue the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater to make his stage directorial debut.
Franco has some close ties to the cast of The Long Shrift, a play about a man who is released from prison after being convicted of rape. He dated The Help star O'Reilly for four years until they split in 2011, while Scott Haze, who was Franco's co-star in 2013 film Child of God, will also appear in the production, which runs between July (14) and August (14).
Denzel Washington's A Raisin In The Sun has joined plays featuring James Franco and Bryan Cranston among the most financially successful Broadway projects this season after recouping the $4.25 million (2.7 million) it cost to stage. The show, which scooped the Best Revival award at Sunday's (08Jun14) Tonys, recouped the cash just days before the end of its run on Sunday (15Jun14).
The revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play has grossed over $1 million (GBP625,000)-a-week throughout its 14-week limited engagement at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
A Raisin in the Sun also features LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonedo, who also picked up a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Other plays that have recouped their investment on Broadway this season include Franco's Of Mice and Men; Cranston's All the Way, which was named Best Play at the Tonys; The Glass Menagerie, with Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto; Betrayal, with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz; the Shakespeare’s Globe's Twelfth Night and Richard III double bill, and Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays.
James Franco and Chris O'dowd's Broadway play Of Mice And Men has recouped its $3.8 million (£2.38 million) costs in just 12 weeks. The stage revival, based on the John Steinbeck novel of the same name, is the latest success on the Great White Way - Bryan Cranston's All The Way also moved into profit recently after making back its $3.9 million (GBP2.44 million) investment.
Getty Images/Bruce Glikas
Actor Dave Franco is set to share the screen with his older brother James Franco in the film adaptation of the book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room. The 127 Hours actor has been tapped to direct and star in the film, a drama about filmmaker Tommy Wiseau's 2003 cult favourite, The Room.
Following a special screening of The Room in Los Angeles on Sunday (08Jun14), the younger Franco sibling asked Wiseau during the question and answer portion, "How do you feel about me playing (actor) Greg Sestero in the movie?" Wiseau replied, "That's what I say: It's a good choice!"
In addition to directing the film, James is adapting the behind-the-scenes book of the same name for the big screen, and will play the role of Wiseau, while Dave plays actor Sestero, who penned The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room.
In the tome, Sestero recalls his experiences acting alongside Wiseau in The Room, which has been described by many critics as one of the "worst movies ever made".
Irish actor Chris O'dowd visits his doctor twice a week after struggling with vocal issues and "various bangs and bruises" during his Broadway run of Of Mice And Men. The Bridesmaids star, who made his Broadway debut in the stage revival of John Steinbeck's classic play, admits he had no idea how tough life on the stage would be and reveals he has really suffered for his art.
He tells the Associated Press, "I definitely have found it harder on my voice and my body than I was expecting. I always somewhat guffawed at the idea that it could be a tiring job to work three hours a day, but I'm going to the doctor twice a week with various bangs and bruises and swollen vocal chords."
O'Dowd portrays the mentally disabled Lennie Small, opposite James Franco's field worker George Milton, and he confesses he based his character on an old acquaintance.
He says, "(Small is based on) a neighbour of mine in London. His name was David. Though I never asked him, I would say he had mild Down syndrome and he had certain tics and stuff."
O'Dowd's dedication to the role has paid off - he has been nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play.
Robert Blake and much of the creative talent involved in his "Baretta" series and three "Joe Dancer" TV-movies tackled this television adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic novel focusing on the lives of a pair of itinerant ranch hands in the rural south. Blake and Randy Quaid have the roles taken in the 1940 film version by Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney. In this production ("dedicated to Lewis Milestone, the director of the original), Lew Ayres replaced an ailing Art Carney in the role of the aging ranch hand, Candy.