James Franco, the real voice of our generation, has taken time out from his busy schedule of Art and Teaching and also Learning to begin a Huffington Post diary. It’s about time!
So what important issue of our times is Mr. Franco tackling? President Obama’s stance on gay rights? The construction of Marina Abramovic‘s performance space over on the Hudson? His new album, perhaps?
Those are all great guesses, but James Franco is actually here to talk to us today about a matter close to his heart: Haunted tours in New Orleans that he took with his Nana. (Which is the name of his Japanese hairdresser, not his grandmother.)
As you would expect, Nicolas Cage is name-checked several times over the course of this hard-hitting piece of journalism :
I had great memories of living in the Quarter a decade ago, when I acted in Nicolas Cage’s directorial debut, Sonny. I guess New Orleans is the place actors go to direct their first films. We were shooting Sonny when Mardi Gras came around, and Nic was crowned King of Bacchus in the Krewe of Bacchus parade. I was on a different float, but I threw plenty of beads.
I had a similar experience during the Sonny shoot, when Nic Cage and I purposely took the two haunted rooms in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, itself a former convent. My room was said to house the spirit of a nun who had leapt from the window. After unpacking my bags, I heard the sound of rushing water and realized that the sink in the bathroom was running full blast. It hadn’t been on when I entered the room, and its knob wasn’t the least bit loose.
We also visited a strange mansion that at one point was owned by Nicolas Cage. It was the site of horrific medical/carnival experiments on slaves in the vein of Human Centipede. About 200 years ago, the mansion belonged to a rich socialite with red hair. A fire broke out during one of her parties, and the fireman who answered the call discovered a chamber that smelled so bad it brought them to their knees, retching. Inside were living and dead victims of a variety of mutilations: amputations, limbs exchanged between people, sexes switched (meaning dicks were sewn onto women), skin flayed in designs to turn the victims into “human caterpillars” and other grotesque monstrosities. The house is still occupied, but it has not had a single owner for more than a five-year period.
In conclusion: human centipedes, Nicolas Cage, New Orleans, ghosts. Let’s just hope that this experience doesn’t inspire Mr. Franco’s syllabus at NYU next semester with over-eager undergrads. Or even scarier…a new book collection.