Site Jezebel is convinced he's trolling the internet for publicity, while Entertainment Weekly feels he needs to pull a Shia LaBeouf and bow out of the limelight with a bag over his head already.
Either side has merit, since Franco's photo is less than flattering, making him look down and out and desperate for attention. That being said, Franco is no idiot, and with his film Palo Alto, based on the book he wrote of the same name, coming out in just five days, it doesn't seem out of reach to say that he's just trying to get the film some media buzz.
Franco's movie, which is directed by Sofia Coppola, debuted at Telluride Film Festival last year to positive reviews and in a recent interview with the New York Times, Coppola said that she went to James Franco for film mentoring rather than her famous family members. "It definitely opens doors," she said of her famous name. "But at the same time I have to work hard to prove that I have my own voice. It's not interesting for me if I get all this help and cheat. I want to learn."
Franco was the one to choose Coppola as director, having wanted a female director to add more layers to the film, which is largely based around male characters. "I realized she had the right sensibility for it," said Franco. "Sometimes I have great instincts for these things, and sometimes I don't, but in this case I did."
In Palo Alto, James Franco plays an older teacher that sleeps with his much younger students.
So what do you think? Is James Franco spiraling downhill or is this all some elaborate trolling scheme James has hatched to draw attention to his own work?