Major feature film star and Golden Globe winner, James Franco, is on his way to General Hospital to stir things up in Port Charles. According to our sources at GH, Franco will figure prominently in a storyline dealing with the character of Jason Morgan (portrayed by Steve Burton). In fact, he will be Jason's "worst nightmare," and will interact with most of the major cast as a result. His role is of the "man-of-mystery-and-intrigue" caliber and will keep him in Port Charles for about two months.
As you can imagine, film critics are abuzz. Anthony Ocasio at ScreenRant said: "What's the reason for his addition to the cast? I don't want to speculate, but I've heard that the creators of the 43-year-old daytime television drama have a pretty amazing Green Goblin storyline coming up and who's the only actor that we know can play Green Goblin? Well, yeah... Willem Dafoe, but this story isn't about him. Other than William Dafoe... Exactly! It's James Franco." LOL
From Spiderman 1, 2 and 3, Milk, Pineapple Express, Freaks and Geeks and numerous other film and prime time TV projects, Kasper at FilmJunk wonders: "So what is next for this rising star? Lead in a new comedy perhaps? Or maybe taking part in a new blockbuster franchise? Nah, that's not it. The next logical step for a rising star is of course to join the cast of a daytime soap opera!"
My favorite is this headline over at ActressArchives, "WTF: James Franco Rushed to 'General Hospital.'"
The film world may be shocked, but here at Soapdom, we knew it was only a matter of time before something like this happened - again. Does the name Elizabeth Taylor ring any bells? She played a major role as the villainous Helena Cassadine (now played by Constance Towers, another former film and Broadway star) in the uber famous Luke & Laura storyline on General Hospital.
And now, James Franco has pled his case to Jill Farren Phelps, the current producer of General Hospital, as to why he would be a good addition to the regular cast of the show. Yup. That's correct. According to our our sources at SOAPnet, Franco approached GH. Phelps could not be more delighted.
"We are thrilled to announce that James Franco will play an integral part in a lengthy run on General Hospital this fall," Phelps said. "It's an honor that an actor of Franco's caliber would choose to spend some of his valuable time in Port Charles."
Of course, there is major speculation out there as to why Franco would choose to do a stint in daytime. Does he need the money? After all, work in the film biz has been very slow the last two years thanks to first the Writer's Strike in November 2007, and then the threat of an actors' strike (Screen Actors Guild actors worked without a contract for one year, finally resolving their issues with producers in June 2009). But ya gotta figure that after appearing in the Spiderman blockbusters, Franco must have a nice nest egg lying around somewhere.
Others are wondering if it could be that perhaps he and Steve Burton share the same agent. Interesting notion, but why a move to daytime? So the agent's two clients could work together for some reason?
Finally - and this one makes the most sense to us - it is being bandied about that Franco is actually starring on General Hospital as research for an upcoming role, or perhaps a screenplay he is about to write. Remember the film, Tootsie? Well, Tootsie star, Dustin Hoffman, researched the role again on the set of General Hospital, although he did not get to star on GH, he just hung out there for a bit.
In addition to the upcoming role on General Hospital, Soapdom has also heard that 31-year-old Franco is engaged in a number of educational pursuits. He is attending both NYU, enrolled in its Tisch School of the Arts Filmmaking program, and is getting his MFA in writing from Columbia University. He has already written and or directed several produced screenplays, including: The Feast of Stephen (2009) (screenplay and directed), Herbert White (2009) (screenplay and directed), Good Time Max (2007) (written by and directed), The Ape (2005) (written by and directed), Fool's Gold (2005) (play "Emma") (play "Fools Gold") (screenplay and directed).
Franco is expected to begin taping October 30th. Watch for him to hit Port Charles beginning November 20, 2009 as part of the climax for November sweeps.
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