James Franco just cannot get enough of ‘General Hospital.’ The movie star/graduate student/artist/writer who shocked everyone by taking a role on the soap early last year will be returning for two episodes timed to coincide with ABC’s February 27th telecast of the Academy Awards, which he will be co-hosting with Anne Hathaway. According to TV Guide, the actor will reprise his role of Franco, the artist whose canvas is murder, on February 25th and February 28th.
Franco, the actor, is also considered a lock to be nominated for an Oscar for his starring role in the movie ‘127 Hours.’ It is possible that he will become the first person to win an Oscar and appear on a daytime soap the next day. He will definitely be the first person to appear on a soap and host the Oscars in the same week.
GH’s savvy executive producer Jill Farren Phelps made it happen. She told TV Guide, “When we realized James would be in L.A. for the Oscars and all the other awards shows, we asked if he’d consider coming back and doing a little something for us.” Phelps also revealed that the movie star plans to do a longer story arc later in 2011, and even wants to direct an episode of the soap.
In his last appearance, Franco the serial killing soap character set his sights on Brenda (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo) as his possible next victim. She is currently living with his obsession, Jason (Steve Burton). Could he be tied to the current storyline surrounding the mysterious crime lord known only as the Balkan who wants to kill her? Phelps would only reveal that this time around, “Franco will remind Jason and the audience that he’s still out there. We just haven’t seen or heard from him because he’s been terribly busy.”
When the movie star first decided to do a stint on ‘General Hospital’ a year ago, people thought it was career suicide. Instead, the three days he spent taping numerous episodes of the show generated an enormous amount of publicity and began what has turned out to be the most successful year of his career. In the past twelve months he has not only landed numerous high profile film roles, but showcased his art work at a respected gallery, published a book of short stories and directed a short film that was accepted into the Sundance film festival.
He credits the memorization skills he developed while shooting 80 pages a day on GH with helping him nail his audition for ‘127 Hours.’
Perhaps there is a calculated method to his madness.
In fact, the only people who do not seem impressed with Franco are the GH viewers. Ratings were low during his two stints on the show, and many have complained both that his character’s storyline was dull and illogical and that Franco’s performance seemed like a parody of bad soap acting.