Entertainment

VENICE WATCH: Bald James Franco turns heads

Posted September 5

— James Franco was hailed as a visionary filmmaker as his latest directorial effort screened at the Venice Film Festival Friday. But everyone was talking about his head.

The unpredictable actor-director has shaved off his hair for his role as a movie obsessive in "Zeroville," and appeared on the red carpet with a fake tattoo of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift on the back of his head.

Franco was given the festival's "Glory to the Filmmaker Award" in recognition of his work, and used the ceremony to shoot scenes for the new, '70s-set film. He was filmed taking the stage in front of a sign for the 35th Venice Film Festival, which took place in 1977.

Franco told the AP the movie — adapted from Steve Erickson's novel — was about "a guy who is so enamored with movies that they become a religion to him." It follows his quixotic journey through 1970s and '80s Hollywood, and includes a scene set at a film festival.

Franco's William Faulkner adaptation "The Sound and the Fury" is screening out-of-competition at this year's Venice festival.

It's his second Faulkner adaptation, after "As I Lay Dying," and the latest evidence of Franco's prodigious work rate. He has a slew of projects in the pipeline, including a movie he's directed about cult writer Charles Bukowski, and is also working on a PhD.

But Franco, 36, said he is not a driven man.

"I think my endeavors used to be driven by more of a need to prove myself," he said. "But nowadays it's not the same. I have enough work I've done that I'm proud of, and will always be proud of. I don't have that same young man's need to make a name for myself."

—By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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