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.

Comments (22)
  1. I’ve liked a number of guys in my life who didn’t like me back, and I think they were all intimidated by my exceptional beauty.

  2. That business about PTA constantly calling him sounds exhausting. I gave my number to a guy once who called while I was out and left a message like “Hey Fatima, it’s Justin. We met on Friday night. It was kind of a busy night so I don’t really remember which one you were, but if I took your number you must have been worth it, so give me a page at xxx-xxxx” and left his fucking BEEPER NUMBER. Point being, I obviously never called him back. And he kept calling and calling until we changed our answering machine message to the message he had left. And then all the other messages were like “Hey Fatima… uhhh did you pick up a meth dealer from 1992?” Anyway, he makes PTA sound like a really annoying date.

  3. I’m siding with PTA on this one. I mean, he made DDL shout in PFT’s face over and over again. The man clearly knows how to have a good time.

  4. Maybe he just found out The Master wasn’t going to be his autobiography and he bailed.

  5. Finally an answer. I ask myself the same question every time I see a movie James Franco is not in. Why was he not in this?

  6. Insufferable! Maybe I just have a bad case of the Mondays, but when I read the part where he said, “I think you’re the best American director,” I feel strongly that he was fishing for PTA to respond in kind!! Shameless!!

    Also, theater-full-of-Austin-people: why were you in the palm of his hand? What is so endearing about this story??

  7. I’m probably among the VERY few who wasn’t wondering why JaFra wasn’t in The Master, but now it’s ALL I can think about. I’m just glad Joaquin was enough of a scaredy cat.

    To tha window. To tha wall.

  8. I think we’re missing a larger news item here, which is that James Franco has some sort of Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Ballroom miniature which he holds in the palm of his hand. That is a very specific miniature room. What an eccentric!

  9. I always get Paul Thomas Anderson and Paul W. S. Anderson confused. I didn’t see The Master but I would have by now if it was directed by the latter.

    EXPLOSIONS AND ZOMBIES AND SCIENTOLOGY! Shut up and take my money.

  10. I am always slightly annoyed that he’s considered The Smart One in Hollywood because he has nineteen creative writing workshop degrees.

  11. I wish he would go live in the woods for a few years

  12. James Franco has become the fair-haired boy of pretentious a-holes. His writing is a special kind of awful that screams out “I’M A RENAISSANCE MAN, CAN’T YOU SEE IT?” He accomplished the feat of being so shallow and self-absorbed that I didn’t care whether his real-life character died of dehydration with his arm stuck behind a rock.

    He is the Apatow spawn who will continue to proudly bear the Gen-Y/Lena Dunham self-love stamp of approval.

  13. I thought he was in the movie?Because even though they changed the name of the character PSH is clearly just a thinly veiled version James Franco.

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