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James Franco teams up with Gus Van Sant for art flick

Reeves and Phoenix in a still from the original 'My Own Private Idaho'

I definitely think James Franco has earned his toaster for being an honorary gay. Following his many gay onscreen portrayals Franco has teamed up with local queer film director Gus Van Sant for 2 art films in an exhibition called “Unfinished,” set to show at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills this weekend through April 9th.

Both are based on Van Sant’s 1991 classic My Own Private Idaho starring Keanu Reeves and the late River Phoenix, and are directed by James Franco. Endless Idaho, a 12 hour Cremasterlike monster, features edited outtakes, deleted scenes, alternate takes and behind-the-scenes footage from the movie as well as interviews with actual street hustlers. The score is by Luke Paquin and Tim O’Keefe. It’s a “behind the scenes” behemoth that isn’t like to keep the average fan’s interest for 12 hours, but is a goldmine for the truly devoted film process buff.

The second, My Own Private River, will be a much easier to swallow look into the “uninhibited acting” of the beautiful and talented River Phoenix, who plays a narcoleptic hustler in the original film. The music here is by R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe, who is hilariously described as an “art school drop out” in the press release.

Additional aspects of the exhibit include eight works on paper by Van Sant described as:

…translat[ing] his acute directorial sensitivity with regard to human nuance and gesture in film into the immediacy of watercolor. With the same subtle powers of observation that distinguish his filmmaking, he has created portraits of young men who recall characters in My Own Private Idaho — defiant, circumspect, and devil-may-care insouciants. Working from photographic images found on the internet, Van Sant has created vivid impressions of his incidental icons, employing brushwork that alternates broad, limpid strokes with an assiduous attention to detail and a varied palette of both washed out tones and dense, electric hues.

No word on the exhibit coming to Van Sant’s hometown any time soon.

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