James Franco is the focus of an unusual Oscar campaign from A24 Films, which is pushing for him to get an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in "Spring Breakers." In the movie, he plays a rapper/gangster named Alien, who lures a group of female college students into his violent criminal lifestyle. Meanwhile, several news outlets (including The Huffington Post) reported on Oct. 17, 2013, that Britney Spears said in a KISS-FM interview in London that Franco (who is 35) is the actor she would like to play Christian Grey in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie. As previously reported, Charlie Hunnam dropped out of the Christian Grey role, and the filmmakers are currently seeking his replacement.
A24 Films' "Spring Breakers" Oscar campaign for Franco includes ads in industry trade publications such as The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. A24 has also campaigned via several tweets on the company's official Twitter account. O oct. 10, 2013, A24 tweeted a photo of one of the ads with this accompanying message: "We weren't joking. Consider this sh*t very seriously. James Franco for Best Supporting Actor."
"Spring Breakers" (which was released in cinemas in March 2013) got mostly positive reviews, although the movie was controversial with some people because of its graphic violence and raunchy content.
According to Box Office Mojo, ticket sales for "Spring Breakers" totaled $31.7 million worldwide, with $14 million of that total coming from the U.S. and Canada. A24 Films began releasing movies in 2013, and "Spring Breakers" is the company's biggest hit so far. Other films released by A24 Films in 2013 are "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" ($45,000 in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada), "The Bling Ring" ($5.8 million in the U.S. and Canada) and "The Spectacular Now" ($6.8 million in the U.S. and Canada).
Franco was nominated for several awards, including an Oscar, for his starring role in the 2010 drama "127 Hours." However, when he co-hosted the 2011 Academy Awards with Anne Hathaway, he was universally panned, as many observers think he acted bored and/or under the influence of drugs while hosting the show.
Regardless of what his critics or fans say, what can't be disputed is that Franco has made unpredictable choices in his career. He has enrolled in multiple universities to pursue graduate degrees in film and English while maintaining his busy career as an actor. He has also become a novelist, teacher, film director and painter. In 2011, he decided to take a guest-starring stint in the ABC soap opera "General Hospital." In 2013, he made a guest appearance on the Fox sitcom "The Mindy Project" and was the subject of the annual Comedy Central Roast.
Franco's movies released in 2013 also reflect his eclectic choices. He starred as the title character in the Walt Disney Pictures blockbuster "Oz the Great and Powerful," and he played a version of himself in Columbia Pictures' racy comedy "This Is the End." But he also continues to do low-budget independent films. He directed and has roles as an actor in three of these indie movies that have been screened for the public in 2013: "As I Lay Dying" (in limited theatrical release as of Oct. 11), "Sal" (in limited theatrical release as of Nov. 1) and "Child of God" (no release date yet, but it has screened at several film festivals).
As for Franco being cast as Christian Grey in "Fifty Shades of Grey," that is highly unlikely since he is probably too busy, he's not interested in the role, and he would be a controversial casting choice. The Hollywood Reporter and other media outlets have reported that the "Fifty Shades of Grey" filmmakers have met with several actors for the role, and Franco's name has never been on those list of names.
The latest rumors are that Jamie Dornan, Alexander Skarsgård, Christian Cooke and Theo James are among the actors who are the most likely contenders for the Christian Grey role. According to E! News, François Arnaud, Billy Magnussen and Luke Bracey are also being considered for the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie. The filmmakers are scrambling to cast the Christian Grey role before the movie starts filming on Nov. 1, 2013.