James Franco is a hodgepodge of creative ambition. The actor, director, screenwriter, producer, teacher, author and poet essentially does whatever he wants whenever he wants because he is—in case you’ve forgotten—James Franco.
In his latest endeavor, Franco dabbles with the idea of taking on the work of history’s most famous playwright in his recent essay for Vice titled “If I Directed Othello.” Sounds about right.
“It is time for a shift in perception about Shakespeare’s Othello,” he begins.
See, Franco would like to give the female roles a “new vitality” by taking away their innocence and having the character Emilia be the true mastermind behind Othello’s, Desdemona’s, and Iago’s demise.
“On a textual basis, nothing in this new presentation could be argued as something outside of Shakespeare’s original intention, even if it could be denied on a historical basis.”
It would definitely be difficult to argue because Bill Shakespeare is in fact dead, but for those of you haven’t thought of Othello since your senior British Lit class, never fear. Franco is basically trying to reduce perceived sexism by alternating the play’s stage performance, so yeah that’s about it.
“The beauty of this production would be that none of the text would be amended. All of the changes would be done through direction of the action of the female characters…In the very least, to make Desdemona and Emilia the central figures would be a fair retribution for the hundreds of female characters played by males in Renaissance England.”
Read Franco’s entire play by play (terrible pun intended) here.