James Franco is a very talented actor, not many people will argue with that. However, the Oscar-nominated actor is known for starring in lowball comedies that often do not do his potential much justice. Along with buddy Seth Rogen, Franco is perhaps one star in Hollywood who appears to choose his films on a whim rather than seriously pursuing roles that will demonstrate his prowess in front of the camera.
The Spring Breakers, I am Michael, and 127 Hours might be a few exceptions in the long list of average films James Franco has starred in, and those are certainly movies that have brought to our attention just how nuanced his performances can be. Even as a teenager, Franco was brilliant as the cool, solipsistic high school student who is just not sure what life entails for him in Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks, giving his audiences a particularly low-keyed charismatic performance that still stays strong two decades after the show was canceled after a fateful first season.
But, for better or worse, James Franco never blossomed into a star who would do one great film after the other, perhaps also because he is so keen to be heavily involved in the scripting and production part of things. He is a guy who loves the process, of course, and it is little wonder that he feels tentative when being at an auteur director’s mercy. Whenever he has tended to do that, like he did in the aforementioned films, the results have been there for all to see.
So James Franco’s fans would be pleased to know that the star has bagged a role in Coen Brothers’ next venture, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a six-part Western adventure that also stars Tim Blake Nelson, Tyne Daly, Zoe Kazan, Stephen Root and Ralph Ineson, as reported by Indiewire. The Coen Brothers are known for being meticulous in the casting of their films, and not unlike Franco’s fans, might have seen in him a genuine potential to play a high-plains drifter whose “fecklessness dogs his attempts at bank robbery and cattle driving.”
It is not yet known if The Ballad of Buster Scruggs will be a comedy or a drama, but if one were to be guided by Coen Brothers’ filmography, it might be safe to assume that it will be a mixture of both. Having received plaudits for his passion project The Disaster Artist, based on the making of Tommy Wiseau’s infamous movie The Room, James Franco might have now bagged just the film that will push him to the next level in his career.
[Featured Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]