James Franco Dishes Dirt on What Happened at the Oscars

July 11, 2011

James Franco is a talented actor, director, screenwriter, producer, author, painter, and performance artist. He is not, however, a great award show host. Franco has finally opened up about what went wrong that night.

In an interview with Playboy magazine the actor reveals all that went wrong with his disastrous job hosting the 83rd Academy Awards. He begins the interview saying, "It's hard to talk about because it's like assigning blame -- not a fun thing to do." Then Franco lets loose.

From the get-go Franco was unsure why producers of the telecast hired him for the hosting job. He tells Playboy, "For three or four weeks we shot the promos and the little film that played in the opening. In the last week, when we really started focusing on the script for the live show and did a run-through, I said to the producer, 'I don't know why you hired me, because you haven't given me anything. I just don't think this stuff's going to be good." Ouch.

The worst part for Franco -- and let's face it, the show -- was when he came out dressed in drag. Franco says, "I just didn't want to fight anymore, even when they said, 'You'll come out as Marilyn Monroe. It'll be funny.' Me in drag is not funny," Franco continues, but he says, he "just didn't want to argue anymore. I was going with their program; I wanted to do the material they gave me, not be one of the many cooks doing the writing. There were a lot of cooks who shouldn't have been cooking but were allowed to. There were some cooks my manager tried to bring in, like Judd Apatow, who wrote some very funny stuff that wasn't used." Franco says he contemplated "deliberately" falling on stage and hoping the dress would fall off. It's a shame he didn't go through with it.

Franco was routinely criticized for his low energy during the show. He says that was a conscious decision to counteract co-host Anne Hathaway's bubbly and over-the-top performance. He says, "As far as having low energy or seeming as though I wasn't into it or was too cool for it, I thought, 'Okay Anne is going the enthusiastic route. I've been trained as an actor to respond to circumstances, to the people I'm working with, and not force anything.' So I thought I would be the straight man and she could be the other, and that's how I was trying to do those lines. I felt kind of trapped in that material. I felt, This is not my boat. I'm just a passenger, but I'm going down and there's no way out."

Franco's behavior is a great example of the dangers of apathy.

Photo: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images