Actors Anonymous (Anglais) Broché – 28 septembre 2013
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Revue de presse
"Subversively funny and provocatively honest, Actors Anonymous is ostensibly about acting but it's really about a society where everyone's reduced to the roles they play. The novel's many narrators fight back against these roles in truly original, often hilarious, and deeply affecting ways. So should we all." –Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
“Electrifying to see a writer hold nothing back! This shape-shifting narrative extends a reader's sense of what a novel can be, can do. Franco plays with persona in ways that implicate a reader. The defiant humor is hard-won (including the best worst job interview ever), his take on irresponsible people is both eloquent and suitably scorching, the language is enviable: the seduction of a virgin is ‘like a bullet through a birthday cake.’ Franco's novel lures you in with indelible images, provocative mind games, and characters laid bare, then successfully strands you in a frightening place." –Amy Hempel
“James Franco puts on a James Franco mask and borrows formats from AA to create a fiction about the fiction of identity—especially as it pertains to actors and, by logical extension, writers. Is fame (the longing for it, the actuality of it) as entangled in the creative act as alcohol? Is acting (writing) an escape from reality or the only thing that’s real for an actor (writer)? The illusion of reality and the reality of fiction hold hands in this novel in much the way that actors (and writers) steal from their lives to enliven their characters. The novel does not merely explore acting, it enacts it. This is a lively, strange, engaging, often funny, sometimes brilliant, and utterly fearless novel.” –Robert Boswell, author of Tumbledown, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards, and The Half-Known World --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Présentation de l'éditeur
Told in a dizzying array of styles—from lyric essays and disarming testimonials to hilariously rambling text messages and ghostly footnotes—and loosely modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Actors Anonymous is an intense, wild ride into the dark heart of celebrity. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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So this is categorized by Kindle in the memoir section, and in my view it's creative nonfiction. The point being, Franco isn't a good enough writer yet to craft a novel. And this would be OK if the vignettes in Actors Anonymous really added up to something. Franco takes a hard line when it comes to acting teachers, acting classes, and other actors. But some of his insights are valuable. Here's one: "To have an inside, there always needs to be an outside. The more elite the inside, the more people are on the outside. Get in there, but don't live in there. Be on both sides."
This is the Franco I've liked--the benign, seemingly self-confident, subversive, funny guy. But that guy is pretty much a mask, Franco reveals in this book. After one description of a character who resembles himself called "the Actor," he concludes, "In actuality, he probably wasn't charming at all."
At some level I think Franco wants to be *known* rather than loved. (He's had the love and adulation for years, and it doesn't seem to have helped him much.) And I think Franco hates his persona, too, and this book is an attempt to lift the lid.
The book AA most reminded me of was Last Exit to Brooklyn, oddly enough. As I read the book, with its selection of unpleasant male characters who are all addicts or dead-end people in some way, I thought about Hubert Selby, Jr. I read Last Exit while in college and hated it. I didn't hate its hapless characters. I hated the inner ugliness of the author, which came across on the page. I never read any other of his books.
Franco's inner ugliness also comes across--which is, frankly, distressing. He boasts about all the sex actors get. He seems incredibly immature and insecure. There is one section, about "his" exploits in France with a couple of women he gives rude names to, that probably is the most fictional section of the book, but is just utterly repellent. Franco has yet to learn that while Hollywood is a toxic place, there are different rules for the writing game. You have to have a scintilla of hard-won wisdom and at least show a tiny bit of interest in personal growth. Franco thinks it's fine to dub all older women ugly and to make clear that he only pursues much younger, pretty women. His attitude toward sex is blithely disconnected and I am not sure how aware he is of his predatory attitudes. (I would say "nature," but that seems too cruel, doesn't it?) At one point he criticizes Marilyn Monroe for her cottage-cheese thighs!
I think Franco should look at his attitude towards women. He likes women as sexual objects but he clearly doesn't "like" them. Maybe that's why he does so many gay roles, not out of some wonderful, life-embracing bisexuality, but because he just doesn't like his female co-stars. Do they bore him at this point? Or is he compelled to sleep with them and finds this irritating? Who knows...
What worked best in the book for me was the segment where a former heroin addict called Sean is working at a fast food restaurant and ends up having sex with an odd-looking Latino co-worker for money, all the while attending AA meetings and pretending to be "in recovery." There was a real desperation here, and I liked the intensity and detail that Franco brought to it.
Then toward the end, Franco gets to the subject of his father, who has died suddenly. Again, there's a compelling quality to these parts and an Oedipal intensity. It's thinly disguised autobiography. But he basically throws his father under the bus. I'm sure the older Mr. Franco was a piece of work, but the younger Mr. Franco clearly is, too.
The book made me muse about a young man escaping a narcissistic father who doesn't understand, support, or love him. He goes to Hollywood to reinvent himself. Surely he must have served under a number of narcissistic fathers there, since the power structure is pretty much all male. I can understand his need to escape and transcend acting at this point. He basically admits he's coasting in his film work. I can see that writing would offer more freedom, more of an escape. Plus, it's an "upgrade," and intelligent people take you seriously.
But I don't know, judging by this book, if Franco really can keep a foot in both worlds. If this book gets Franco laid less often... hey, it might be a good thing. Writers need insight and solitude; they need to have self-discipline. Franco still seems to have the mentality of a young, immature actor. All the same, there is a bravery in revealing that he's not a nice guy (antisocial personality disorder came to mind). It's just that doing that is not the same thing as writing a good book.
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