It’s time for the second installment of James Franco’s collaboration with Seven For All Mankind, an interactive experience that lets we viewers decide what happens in the a love triangle of three really hot people wearing the company’s denim. (Have no idea what I’m talking about? Click here to check out the first chapter and hear James tell me why he liked the Choose Your Own Adventures book series when he was a wee boy here.)
I’m not a new fan of Franco’s. We’ve had him on the cover of VMAN twice, and I’ve made pilgrimages to see his artwork on a whole spectrum of platforms, from the Venice Bienale on the sinking city in Italy to a basement in Terence Koh’s now defunct gallery space on far, far east Canal Street in New York. (The one he showed in Koh’s gallery was my favorite for a variety of reasons. I can’t really get into it here, but remind me another time and I’ll tell you all about it.) And here I find myself a fan yet again. Not just because it stars Elise Crombez, one of my favorite models from my early fashion days, and Sean Avery, a current partner in crime. And not just because we, the audience, gets to participate in the final outcome of their fictional romance. No, the reason I find myself applauding Franco again is because he’s taken a jeans campaign and made it something interesting.
Specifically, I’m talking about the work of William Blake, a Romantic era poet who wasn’t even yet born when denim became the fabric of our lives. Only a twisted guy like James would be commissioned to do a sexy viral video about jeans and be inspired by a guy who wrote long, lyrical love poems about the changing of the seasons. “I like bringing these other references, both high and low,” James tells me, adding that one reason he was drawn to Blake is because it was a more enlightened and intellectual concept of sensuality. “Focusing on someone like Blake, or on poetry in general, takes me away from the impulse to just make something sexy. That’s often everyone’s solution nowadays: Just make it sexier. But when you have these other references, it pulls it in unexpected directions.” Was he ever worried that mixing a long dead romantic poet with a contemporary priced jeans line would seem jarring? Nope. “It’s not like were pulling down William Blake, it can only elevate our material. And inspire it.”
But back to the video: Who does James want to see the bride-to-be hook up with? He’s keeping his cards close and won’t tell me. Though, I must say that it sounds like he had a little more fun planning the more devlish version of the marriages of heaven and hell. “I went and shot my own wedding of hell. I’m not sure that will make it in there,” he laughs, adding he used Kenneth Anger as the priest. Want to see the king of twisted underground cinema (Don’t know Anger? Google him now. My copy of Hollywood Babylon is one of my prized possessions) officiate a darker romance? Well, start voting!
Do you believe in happy endings? Get involved in the odyssey by clicking here and going to the 7 For All Mankind’s Facebook page.