James Franco wants you to "think of all the takes of all the shots of all the movies ever made."
Why would you ever want to think about that? Because this is important to Franco, guys, plus it gets interesting.
"Many filmmakers would consider the discarded material worthless, but I, as an actor who has spent fifteen years in front of the camera, consider all of it valuable," Franco continues, writing in The Paris Review.
Which brings us to what we're gathered here for today. Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho" is one film that caught Franco's hungry eye for its rolls of footage that never made it to light, and for the fact that River Phoenix is in it. Franco told Van Sant he "would do anything to see" those film rolls. The two watched them together, talked about how Van Sant's films have changed over the years and decided that Franco should reimagine the film as if he were Gus Van Sant making it today. Franco discusses this in more detail in his own words over at The Paris Review.
The project, titled "Memories of Idaho," was first announced back in February. It consists of two films, "My Own Private River" and "Idaho," which played at the Toronto Film Festival this year. The one you'll see a clip of today, "My Own Private River," recuts the film with Phoenix as the star using previously unseen footage. "Idaho," a separate film, is shot from one of the three original scripts Van Sant used, along with the director's photography to make it extra avant-garde-y.
That's right. Franco made two films out of one film. Meanwhile, his alter ego is headed back to Port Charles.