James Franco on His Lana Del Rey Book 'Flip-Side'

James Franco on His Lana Del Rey Book 'Flip-Side'

James Franco sits down for a face to face interview with James Franco to discuss his upcoming book—a literary love letter to Lana Del Rey

James Franco sits down for a face to face interview with James Franco to discuss his upcoming book—a literary love letter to Lana Del Rey

Photography: James Franco

JAMES FRANCO 1 What is this new book with Lana?

JAMES FRANCO 2 It’s not actually with Lana, it’s all me, talking to myself as if half of me was Lana and half was me.

JF1 Why did you do that?

JF2 Because I like to talk to myself, and because I knew that Lana would be too shy to do the book with me.

JF1 So you just played her? As if it were an acting part? That’s a little fucked up.

JF2 Yeah, I guess, but it also takes her off the hook because nothing that is said in the book is attributed to her directly, but it’s still about her.

JF1 But people will still think it’s her talking.

JF2 I’ve tried to make it clear that these are not her words, they are my idea of her words. But in addition to that all of the words that I put into her mouth (and my mouth) were then re-mixed by my former writing teacher, David Shields.

JF1 Who is he? And what do you mean re-mixed? This is a book, not an album.

JF2 David Shields is a guy who deals in high impact, autobiographical essays. I was very influenced by his book Reality Hunger, which makes arguments for a move away from fiction to creative non-fiction, and for the free appropriation of others’ texts in one’s own.

JF1 So this Lana project was perfect for him because it deals autobiography (to an extent) and he could take your text and re-mix it, or whatever, and make something new.

JF2 Exactly. And his re-mix puts one more layer between Lana and reality. So it’s a double layered fabrication of Lana.

JF1 So, why do it at all? If these are not Lana’s real words?

JF2 Because this is the way that Lana is best captured. She said herself that I should just write around her, because that would be the best way to get at her spirit.

JF1 Why? Why not just a straight interview with her?

JF2 For a couple reasons. One, we’ve already done that for V Magazine, and two, official interviews always have an agenda: sell an album, sell magazines, sell movies, etc.

JF1 So, do you think you got to some truth about Lana? Or about anything?

JF2 I think so. I don’t know if the “truth” of the book has anything to do with Lana specifically, it’s more about how I feel about Lana, and her work.

JF1 So, really this is like an acting job. You play you, and you play Lana.

JF2 Yeah, pretty much.

JF1 Do you think you play a good Lana?

JF2 No, not really. I let too much of myself shine through.

JF1 So, it actually is just a book where you talk to yourself.

JF2 Yup, imagine that.

Flip-Book: Real and Imaginary Conversations with Lana Del Rey will be released Spring 2017.

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