By James Franco
The actors in James Franco’s really good debut novel contain a McDonald’s drive-thru operator who spends his shift attempting on accents; an ex-child big name recalling an important beachside bacchanal; health facility volunteers and Midwestern transplants; a vampire flick starlet who discovers a cryptic e-book written through a well-known actor long past AWOL; and the ghost of River Phoenix. Then there’s Franco himself, who prowls behind the scenes, peering out among the lines—before taking the level with attention-grabbing meditations on his paintings, in addition to nightmarish stories of extra. “Hollywood has constantly been a personal club,” he writes. “I open the gates. I say welcome. I say, Look inside.”
Told in a dizzying array of styles—from lyric essays and disarming testimonials to hilariously rambling textual content messages and ghostly footnotes—and loosely modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Actors Anonymous is an extreme, wild journey into the darkish middle of superstar.
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Additional info for Actors Anonymous
I gave him the wet cold heavy thing. It must have been like picking up a dead fish. ‘Come on, Ellie, old mate,’ he said wearily. I let myself be led like a helpless child. We walked for about five minutes to a building. I realised suddenly that it was a wheat silo, one of the big concrete ones. I didn’t care what it was, but I remember thinking that it was a good choice of shelter, because colonists wouldn’t be interested in it until harvest time, in mid-summer. 40 Chapter Seven One trouble with the war was that we had no medicines.
It’s much worse when it’s your own plan; the responsibility is too much, too much. I resolved that I’d never suggest anything again, knowing even as I made the resolution that I wouldn’t be able to keep it. I talked to Robyn as we walked along though, and that was interesting. She had this great religious theory about how the sheep was a sacrificial lamb, sacrificed to save Kevin’s life. I didn’t know about that. Once we were in sight of the farmhouse we had to take a lot of care. It was no easy matter for Homer to carry the sheep all the way to the well.
I didn’t care what it was, but I remember thinking that it was a good choice of shelter, because colonists wouldn’t be interested in it until harvest time, in mid-summer. 40 Chapter Seven One trouble with the war was that we had no medicines. We’d had the basic odds and ends but we’d used them up pretty quickly. Now we were down to half a packet of Bandaids and a bottle of Alka Seltzer. And after that terrible trudge across the plains we were tired, depressed, and wet to the skin; hair soaked and boots full of water.
Actors Anonymous by James Franco