James Franco Asks What Will Happen to Live-Action Actors


Back in September, James Franco scored his first The Paris Review byline with a piece that introduced the magazine’s highbrow readership to River, his Gus Van Sant-blessed cut of My Own Private Idaho. In the months since, he has reviewed Restless (an indie love story directed by Van Sant) and written a piece juxtaposing The Descendants with Breaking Dawn. Today, Franco’s latest piece arrived online, and this time he’s using the two movies that he saw over the holidays — The Artist and Puss in Boots — to look at how recent advances in CG technology will impact his own career.

The Artist is a film about an actor who can’t use his voice in film — and Puss in Boots is an animated film that uses only famous performers’ voices (Antonio Banderas, Selma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thorton, Amy Sedaris),” Franco writes. “Animation has been a part of film history almost since its inception, and animation with sound started at almost the same time as live-action talkies, Snow White being one of the first feature-length animated sound films in 1937. But it wasn’t until Aladdin (1992) and then Toy Story (1995) that recognizable actors started voicing animated characters with regularity. The personalities of the performers is now a huge part of the animation process, and as computer-generated technology advances, the images will only begin to look more lifelike. Pretty soon — in fact it’s already happening, just look at Tintin — it won’t just be the voices that actors provide for CG animators; it will be all the aspects of a performance.”

We’re curious: What do you think will happen to every actor who’s not Andy Serkis as technology continues to advance?