TL;DR: They probably did it, but who can tell when the writing is this disjointed and insufferable?
James Franco is an actor, a director, a producer, and a professor. He is also a writer, or at least positions himself as one. In his latest essay for Vice he bites back at Lindsay Lohan by gazing deep into his own navel and pulling out what he appears to believe are important words for us to read. Unfortunately, the only thing I came away with is the realization that for all of Franco's bluster, he doesn't even know what a door chain is called. And he's not going to google it. (#Art)
Oh, and that Lindsay Lohan tried to break into his hotel room and called him a faggot. Except, I think that this is the creative part of creative nonfiction and it's not actually Lindsay he's talking about (except he's totally talking about Lindsay):
There was a Hollywood girl staying at Chateau Marmont. She had gotten a key to my room from the manager. I heard her put the key into my front door and turn it, but I had slid the dead bolt and that thing—I don't know what you call it; it's like a chain but made of two bars—that kept the door from opening.
She said, "James, open the door."
Across the room was a picture of a boy dressed as a sailor with a red sailor cap, and except for his blondish hair (closer to my brother's color) he looked like me.
She said, "Open the door, you bookworm punk blogger faggot."
And then she blew up his phone:
My phone rang. She let it ring until I answered.
"You're not going to let me sleep, are you?"
"Do you think this is me? Lindsay Lohan. Say it. Say it, like you have ownership. It's not my name anymore."
"I just want to sleep on your couch. I'm lonely."
"We're not going to have sex. If you want to come in, I'll read you a story."
"A bedtime story?"
"It's called 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish.'"
Do you think I've created this? This dragon girl, lion girl, Hollywood hellion, terror of Sunset Boulevard, minor in the clubs, Chateau Demon? Do you think this is me?
No, James Franco, we don't think you created whatever's going on with Lindsay Lohan; we've got her parents to thank for that. And the vicious nature of Hollywood. But in either case, nothing you're going to do is going to change who she is, whether you scream her name through the phone or let her fall asleep on your couch as you read her possibly the most pretentious story of all time. Sorry, I lied. This is the most pretentious story of all time. And it goes on.
Once upon a time a guy, a Hollywood guy, read some Salinger to a young woman who hadn't read him before. Let's call this girl Lindsay. She was a Hollywood girl, but a damaged one. I knew that she would like Salinger, because most young women do. I read her two of the Nine Stories, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and "For Esmé—with Love and Squalor." "Bananafish" was great because it has a nagging mother on the other end of the phone line, nothing like Lindsay's real mother, but still, the mother-daughter thing was good for her to hear. And there's the little girl in the story, Sibyl, and the pale suicide, Seymour, who kisses her foot and talks about bananafish with her, those fantastic phallic fish who stick their heads in holes and gorge themselves—it should be called "A Perfect Day for Dickfish"—and then, bam, he shoots himself.
Then I read "For Esmé," which is basically the same story as "A Perfect Day for Dickfish." A man goes to war. He is traumatized. Then he is saved by the innocence of a young girl. The structure of this story is very nice. Yes, stories, stories, stories, stories. S-t-o-r-i-e-s.
It's like he's having a stroke.*
What is this, even? Several paragraphs down, Franco tries passionately to make it clear that he and Lohan didn't have sex, going so far as to write "Now we were lying in bed. I wasn't going to fuck her." He lets her talk instead and the monologue that comes out of Lindsay doesn't sound real, nor does it sound like something that anyone would be able to remember verbatim. But this is the meat of the essay. The other stuff — the posturing, the meditation on Hollywood life, the memories of his time with Gus Van Sant — they're all just a convenient backdrop to what the real issue here is: James Franco is angry at Lindsay Lohan for purportedly lying about him. And instad of just letting it go, he's going to give it back to her as good as he got it, by pointing out how pitiful she is and wishing her well in the most passive-aggressive and self-serving way possible. By writing an essay about of how little consequence Lindsay is to the world.
I ran my fingers through her hair and thought about this girl sleeping on my chest, our fictional Hollywood girl, Lindsay. What will she do? I hope she gets better. You see, she is famous. She was famous because she was a talented child actress, and now she's famous because she gets into trouble. She is damaged. For a while, after her high hellion days, she couldn't get work because she couldn't get insured. They thought she would run off the sets to party. Her career suffered, and she started getting arrested (stealing, DUIs, car accidents, other things). But the arrests, even as they added up, were never going to be an emotional bottom for her, because she got just as much attention for them as she used to get for her film performances. She would get money offers for her jailhouse memoirs, crazy offers. So how would she ever stop the craziness when the response to her work and the response to her life had converged into one? Two kinds of performance, in film and in life, had melted into one.
Burn, I guess? Although, wouldn't a better burn be to say nothing at all? Or am I completely misunderstanding Franco's work here? Perhaps it's better if I just look at his multitude of selfies, a less blatant reminder than his written work of how self-absorbed he is.
*Double-entendre proudly intended.
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