There might not be a busier actor on the planet than James Franco, but the 32-year-old Bay Area native and star of two films at the 2010 Mill Valley Film Festival is making time to appear at a screening for one of them.
Franco, who has earned plaudits for his roles in Pineapple Express, Milk and the Spider Man films, will be honored in a "Spotlight" presentation at the Rafael Film Center Oct. 17 after a screening of his latest film, 127 Hours. The film depicts the real-life saga of Aron Ralston, whose solo hiking trip in remote southern Utah morphed into a tale of horror when he had to cut off his arm in order to get out from under a boulder that had fallen on him. It was directed by Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and based on Ralston's own account, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
Franco will be on hand for an on-stage interview after the 5pm screening, and will appear at a reception before the screening at Frantoio Ristorante & Olive Oil Co. at 1:30pm.
Franco also stars in William Vincent, about one man's trip into the New York crime world, which screens Oct. 16 at the Sequoia and Oct. 17 at the Rafael.
The actor has tried his hand at a vast array of artistic pursuits in recent years. In addition to working as a screenwriter, director and producer, Franco simultaneously attended graduate school in writing, filmmaking and poetry at four separate schools. He is set to begin work on a doctorate in literature at Yale and also study at the Rhode Island School of Design.
A book of his short stories, named after the town where he grew up, Palo Alto, is due out this fall on Scribner Books. Franco also developed a conceptual art piece in which he became a recurring character on the soap opera General Hospital, playing an enigmatic installation artist.
Franco stars in Howl, the Allen Ginsberg biopic that hits theaters Friday. The film is centered on the 1957 obscenity trial after the publication of Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems, which became a landmark case establishing a key legal precedent guaranteeing First Amendment rights for other controversial literary works.
Tickets for the Spotlight on James Franco are $85 for the Spotlight and Reception, and $30 for the Spotlight program only. To but tickets or for more festival info, visit the festival's Web site or by calling 877-874-6833.