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Modern Man: Catching Up With James Franco

James Franco might play slackers occasionally, but the actor is a busy bee.

James Franco might play slackers occasionally, but the actor is a busy bee, pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Columbia, and recently sold a collection of short stories to Scribner. On Monday he wrapped his role as the beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming “Howl.” Hours later he attended the U.S. premiere of “Erased James Franco,” an art film in which he gives a “10 to 50 percent effort” to reinterpret scenes originally played by Rock Hudson, Julianne Moore and himself.

Afterward, he and the artist, known as Carter, took questions onstage at MoMA. Franco, who also paints on the side, owned some of Carter’s works before the artist asked him to be in the film, which they shot in one day at Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris. Was he uncomfortable watching himself playing himself, or as he put it, “a slightly insane, maybe drugged version of myself?”

Au contraire.

“I love watching this film. It’s my favorite performance. I wish I could perform 50 percent all of the time.” Since Franco is the face of Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme, Gucci sponsored an exclusive after-party at The Modern.