Wrap your head around this one: James Franco and his fellow RISD conceptual art MFA student Tim O’Keefe have a band called Daddy, and they’re embarking on an ambitious Smiths-inspired audio-visual project called Let Me Get What I Want. As Franco explained to Vice, the complicated backstory began with his book of verses, Directing Herbert White: Poems:
We took a ten-poem sequence called “The Best of the Smiths: Side A and Side B.” I originally wrote this sequence as a way to use one medium (music) to influence another one (poetry). The Smiths’ songs provided inspiration for the poems, lending tone and situation. Once I had the sequence, Tim and I took the material one step further and turned the poems inspired by songs, back into songs of their own.
The finished product will be a series of 10 music videos that connect into a seamless narrative loop with no beginning and no ending. The films feature three characters from Franco’s poems — Tom, Sterling, and Erica — inspired by his childhood in Palo Alto. Students from Franco’s mother’s high school film class in Palo Alto wrote scripts based on Franco’s poems. Franco and O’Keefe then wrote songs based on the scripts, and the students filmed the videos based on the songs. More from Franco:
I thought it would be fitting to have high school students in the 2010s take the material I had generated from my own experiences and interpret it themselves. It would add one more layer of youthful influence, Palo Alto influence, and another medium.
In a pleasingly bizarre twist, Franco got Smiths bassist Andy Rourke to play on all 10 recordings. Also, each video begins with a painting by Franco. Watch the first clip, “This Charming Man,” below.
Let Me Get What I Want will be out next year.
[Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images.]