Earlier this week, James Franco got a lot of people buzzing when he publicly called out the producers of Spring Breakers: The Second Coming, a sequel to the Harmony Korine-directed cult hit. The actor alleged that the follow-up was not being done with Korine’s permission and denounced it on his Instagram page, saying it would be “a terrible film.” Now, producers Chris and Robert Hanley of Muse Productions, and Jordan Gertner of Hero Productions, all three of whom are collaborating with Wild Bunch on Spring Breakers: The Second Coming, are firing back.
Speaking exclusively with Variety about the subject, the trio didn’t pull any punches in dissing Franco for his comments. Referencing the actor’s long track record of sequels or reimaginings, including Oz the Great and Powerful, Spider-Man and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Chris Hanley had none too kind words for Franco:
“Franco is a sequel junkie in his own reality, embracing the too big to fail studio system that is his meal ticket to dilettante artistic side shows, while he glibly attacks real independent filmmakers dedicated to independent points of view.”
Of what audiences can expect from Spring Breakers: The Second Coming, Hanley said:
“The next ‘Spring Breakers’ will make the first one look like some Disney girls trying to get a new lease on life.”
Spring Breakers: The Second Coming will be directed by Small Apartments helmer Jonas Akerlund and penned by Trainspotting scribe Irvine Welsh. The film is said to focus on a new group of spring breakers who are forced to face off against a radical, militant Christian group determined to convert them. Discussing the talent working on the sequel, Chris Hanley said, “These aren’t weak or lame artists, and I think our track record speaks for itself.“ Roberta Hanley added that, “We’ve done nothing but smuggle important artists into Hollywood.”
When asked about Korine’s lack of involvement with the sequel, Gertner simply said, “We had a great relationship with Harmony Korine and now we’re exploring a new incarnation of ‘Spring Breakers.’” Gertner also noted that Muse and Hero “have all rights to all prequels, sequels, remakes, animation spinoffs.” Backing up his statements by commenting on European legal terms for ownerships, Chris Hanley explained, “We have the certificate of authorship for this work.”
Though the producers of this sequel seem to have the law on their side, I’ve got to say that I’m still on Team Franco with this one. Spring Breakers was edgy and subversive in all the best ways, and that was in large part thanks to Korine’s touch. I can’t imagine that a follow-up without him will be anything special, and it seems a little underhanded for the producers to launch into one without (if Franco is to believed) even getting the director’s blessing.
We’ll find out soon or later whether Spring Breakers: The Second Coming was a terrible miscalculation. In the meantime, however, what do you make of all the hubbub surrounding it?