Photos by G.
On February 19, 2012, James Franco spoke at the Walter Reade Theatre in New York about his latest film “My Own Private River.” When James Franco starred in Gus Van Sant’s film “Milk,” the director invited James Franco to a benefit premiere of the movie in Portland, Oregon. The day after the premiere, James Franco got a special tour of the locations where another film directed by Gus Van Sant was shot. That film was the 1991 picture “My Own Private Idaho.” During this tour, Van Sant admitted that he had over 25 hours of footage comprised of dailies, outtakes, and miscellaneous unused scenes. The footage is so incredible, James Franco got permission from all parties involved to make a different cut of the film. The result is “My Own Private River,” a feature length “alternate version” if you will, of “My Own Private Idaho.” Per James Franco, all the footage used in his film is different than what was used in the original theatrical release and at least 40% is totally different takes, different dialogue or completely unused footage. Knowing that River Phoenix would die of a drug overdose less than 2 years after this film was completed, the footage and story are even more poignant.
“My Own Private River” is really great for so many reasons. Of course the top few reasons: never before seen gorgeous footage of Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix, alternate scenes from a movie that so many people love dearly and getting Michael Stipe formerly of the band R.E.M. to record some music for this picture. And on that note, stay tuned for a video of James Franco talking about Michael Stipe’s involvement! James Franco has no intentions of his cut of the film “competing” with the original picture and herein lies the bad news – the film will probably not be released. The film was made as an art piece and has already been shown at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles. The original idea (and it exists, per James Franco) is a 12 hour cut of the film! We can only hope that one day, the powers that be will unite and “My Own Private River” will be available for the masses to see. Until then, if you hear of a screening of this movie and you like any of the things I’ve mentioned in this report – make sure you don’t miss it!
After the screening and Q&A were over, James Franco graciously met fans. I’ve met James Franco before and I found him to be such a cool guy. I am happy to report he is as nice as ever and considering how incredibly talented he is, I am so impressed with his demeanor. James, you are a class act and a damn fine artist! Thanks!