James Franco is a lot of things, but consistent is not one of them. His performances, ranging from great to good to not-so-excellent, can be found in everything from blockbusters to indie projects, art displays to local book stores, college lectures and more intimate squares. His talents are widespread, certainly, if not always found. If festival reviews, as well as this first trailer, for the LGBT drama I Am Michael provide the right indication, however, we might be looking at one of the highest points in Franco’s career to date.
Based on the true story of Michael Glatze (Franco), a prominent gay-rights activist and spokesperson for the homosexual community who was abruptly and shockingly “saved” by Christianity, I Am Michael made its premiere back at Sundance 2015. Beyond a few other festival appearances that year, however, it has yet to be seen by a wide audience. That changes on January 27th though, when the movie will hit VOD and sees a limited theatrical release.
Also starring Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts and Charlie Carver, I Am Michael marks the directorial debut of co-writer Justin Kelly, whom already had his second feature King Cobra, also starring Franco, released earlier this year. Additionally, Kelly has his third film, Welcome the Stranger, in the can and ready for next year as well. Give credit where it’s due: the man knows how to keep himself busy and active.
Produced by Gus Van Sant, whom Kelly worked with in the past, I Am Michael is being praised for Franco’s “sincere,” “thought-provoking,” and “unusually nuanced” lead performance, even if the final film itself has gotten a mixed response. In any case, audiences will finally get a chance to judge the delayed project for themselves when it lands early next year.