The Hollywood actor goes behind the camera to direct his first ever ad campaign, for 7 For All Mankind.
Image: James Franco on shoot with model, Lily Donaldson
James Franco has already proven that he can venture beyond just acting. Since his days in US cult television series Freaks and Geeks he has done Hollywood blockbusters, left-field movie projects and even written and directed short films and a feature-length documentary about American television show, Saturday Night Live.
Franco now lends himself to the world of advertising as he collaborates with agency Lipman, New York to direct and photograph his first ever ad campaign, for denim brand 7 For All Mankind's Spring 2012 collection. The series of ten 'vignettes' will live on the brand's 7 For All Mankind YouTube channel, where you can also see photos. The episodes, all directed and edited by Franco delve into the journeys of key cast members throughout the shoot. The campaign debuts with a short teaser video, which was shot from behind the point of view of Franco.
The campaign is described by the label as "unorthodox... that embodies the brand's California roots and 'forever cool' aesthetic". It shadows a cast of actors, artists, models and musicians whilst depicts the story of a hedonistic house party that takes place over a warm December weekend in Malibu.
Image: Photographs taken by James Franco
Most people are probably used to seeing Franco in front of the camera rather than behind. He has taken several masters degrees, including studying film-making at New York University and writing at Columbia and Brooklyn College. On his first foray into the creative side of advertising, he says: "Working with 7 for All Mankind was an amazing experience."
"I was able to work in ways that were similar to what I do in the film world but in this case we had a tremendous amount of freedom. We were liberated from the conventional film apparatus and were able to create something both classic and new."
CCO and Founder of Lipman, David Lipman, says: "The campaign was born out of a desire to do something that has never been done before. With James helming the camera, you connect so strongly to the narrative and yearn to be a part of it."
7 For All Mankind was founded in Los Angeles, California by Michael Gasser, Peter Koral and Jerome Dahan in 2000. The campaign will culminate with a full-length feature film, "The Death of Natalie Wood", which is inspired by the James Dean classic "Rebel Without a Cause" to be shown at LA's Museum of Contemporary Art in May.
Of course, Franco is not the only member of Hollywood to add directing advertising to his resumé. Woody Allen is famous for exploring all artistic paths and featured in Lürzer's Archive (Vol. 3/1993) as director of three spots ("Apples", "Gallery" and "Party") for supermarket chain Co-op.
Video: Behind the scenes of the campaign. Edited by James Franco
Video: Episode 1 featuring Lily Donaldson