Say what you will about James Franco, you can’t deny he isn’t a prolific artist. With a metric ton of projects that are either ongoing or announced, Franco has enough work to keep him busy for the next half a century. And like any actor-director, he has his favored collaborators, and he’s just announced that Bryan Cranston will play a younger version of himself for their third collaboration together.
It has long been a fine American tradition to escape the awkward enclosure of your parents’ house over your holiday vacation and spend a few hours in the local movie theater, where everyone can shut up about politics and stop swapping passive aggressive comments on each other’s lifestyle for a few hours. 2016 was no different, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Sing drawing in the big crowds while La La Land and Fences impressed in limited release. Not so impressive: Passengers, Why Him?, and Assassin’s Creed, each of which underperformed.
The entertainment industry has done Bryan Cranston dirty. His award-hoarding turn as mild-mannered meth kingpin Walt White on Breaking Bad should have cracked Hollywood wide open for him, with high-power producers lining up to cast him in the next big prestige release. But for every Trumbo (which earned Cranston an Oscar nomination, despite plenty of shortcomings), there is a Why Him?, and the soggy prosthetic moose scrotum that goes with it.
It’s not much of a stretch to say James Franco is every parent’s worst nightmare. Could you imagine your kid — hypothetical or actual — dating the self-proclaimed artist occasionally known as Semaj? That’s the gist of Why Him?, in which Franco plays an obnoxious, foul-mouthed, tattooed billionaire dating the daughter of Bryan Cranston’s doting dad. He’s not technically playing himself, but it’s a pretty believable nightmare scenario.
James Franco has become one of our most prolific actors/directors/writers/artists/deli meat purveyors (probably)—he is, in the parlance of the Full House theme song, everywhere you look. Not only is he starring in Hulu’s upcoming Stephen King miniseries 11/22/63, but he’ll also appear in the new comedy Why Him? from co-writer Nicholas Stoller and the director of I Love You, Man.