Why wasn’t James Franco in The Master? I think that’s a question that must’ve been on a lot of people’s minds in the last few weeks, because I know the first thing I thought after seeing that movie was, “Where was James Franco?” And then, “Was there a schedule conflict or something? He couldn’t negotiate his contract to his likings enough, or what?” I could hardly even see the screen with that huge elephant in the theater!!! It’s almost as if that was just another level to the plot. You know? Like, the fact that James Franco wasn’t in it kind of said something about…? I don’t know! Luckily, at an Austin Film Festival panel discussion last Friday afternoon, James Franco shed some light on The Great Film Mystery after being asked about a role that intimidated him (and answering that there hasn’t been one). (Naturally.) From Entertainment Weekly:
“Well, I don’t know if this is a funny story but it’s a true story,” he said. “Paul Thomas Anderson was getting ready to make the Master and he called me and we met. And we talked and we ended up meeting for coffee. We didn’t talk about the Master but I met him to chat. And then he kept calling me and he wanted to talk and talk but I didn’t know what he wanted to talk about because we’d always just kind of bulls— on the phone. So then when he started talking about the role he said ‘Do you feel like you can do this?’ And I said ‘Yeah, totally. Look, I think you’re like the best American director. I feel confident. I know I can do this.’ And he said to me ‘But I want this to scare you. I want this role, going on this journey to scare you.’ And I was like ‘Scare?! I know I can do it.” Franco now had the laughing audience in the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental ballroom in the palm of his hand. “And so, incredible movie, needless to say I didn’t get the part. I guess I wasn’t scared enough or something, or whatever reason I didn’t get it. And then when I saw Joaquin in that movie I realized ‘Oh, he wanted me to like lose my mind.’ And so I guess that’s just to say I usually don’t get scared of roles.
SCARE?! Hahahaha. So annoying how Paul Thomas Anderson wouldn’t even tell James Franco why he kept calling him. You go out for coffee with a guy one time and then he thinks he can call you up whenever, just to talk? And then he hits you with some bullshit trick question and screws you out of a job you would’ve otherwise DEFINITELY gotten and acted the shit of out, for sure for sure? Whatever. Pros don’t get scared. That’s why James Franco wasn’t in The Master — too confident in his craft. Mystery solved.