James Franco's Scarring Collaboration with THE THING


Issue 14 of THE THING Quarterly is out today, though subscribers were sent the highly-anticipated issue on May 26th. This time around, editors Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan worked with James Franco in order to create a unique text-driven object d’art. Back in 2002, Franco and Brad Renfro were in the film Deuces Wild together. When we asked Jonn Herschend about the significance of the film to Franco, he wrote via e-mail, “According to one of our conversations with James, the actors in the film (James, Brad, Stephen Dorff) all saw this film as their Mean Streets.”

Renfro died of a heroin overdose in 2008; he was 25. As part of the performance aspect to the piece, Franco had “BRAD” carved into his right arm with an Italian switchblade by tattoo-legend Mark Mahoney. The letters are embossed, creating a red wound, and the process took about 20 minutes from start to finish. Through this act, Franco becomes a physical representation of THE THING. In addition to this, Franco carefully drew “Brad Forever” in red lipstick on each of the 6 x 8 1/2 inch table mirrors included in the first run of the issue. The text sits above a small photo of a wild-haired Renfro, who is shirtless and gazing into the distance, forever young.

Each issue also includes a black and white post of Franco and Mahoney mid-carving. In the next few days, 100 signed Latama switchblades with “Brad Renfro” in multicolored text along the handle and “forever” in black along the blade will be for sale, so Franco fanatics can carve “Deuces” into their arms in homage to the duo. What do you think about this act of body scarification and 1950s-style teen gang love, dear readers?

All photos by Lenny Gonzalez.