This spring, Deadline delivered the somewhat surprising news that James Franco’s Zeroville would be released following a four-year wait after being brought back to life by myCinema. The film is based upon Steve Erickson’s 2007 novel and stars Franco alongside folks that you’d expect to see in a strange, Franco-directed film like this one. Like Danny McBride and Seth Rogen, plus Joey King, Megan Fox, and Jacki Weaver, all sliding back to 1969 Hollywood in a different kind of way than a certain other release this year.
This production, however, dates back to before Franco raked in awards while directing and starring in The Disaster Artist. It was a bizarre time when Franco was cranking out adaptations from his favorite authors like William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy and, as it turns out, Steve Erickson. Zeroville looks, well, fittingly bizarre, and it probably won’t make waves, but here’s the synopsis:
Vikar is a lost soul journeying through Hollywood 1969, a land of myths, beauty and monsters. The studio system is in decay, and a new generation of brash filmmakers are on the rise. With his shaved head marked by a tattoo from his favorite film, 1951’s A Place in the Sun, Vikar is a bizarre presence even amid the dreamers and players. He finds work first building sets, then as an apprentice editor obsessed with wielding the power of moving images. As his involvement in the creative process deepens, so does his fascination with a tragic screen goddess named Soledad. Together they discover just how hard it is to live in the blurred boundary between reality and illusion.
Years ago before Zeroville dropped off the radar, it was promoted as “[a] proto-punk Forrest Gump comes to Hollywood….” It feels like a movie to watch while stoned, right? It’s not nearly as enjoyable-looking as Pineapple Express, though. We’ll find out when Zeroville arrives in select U.S. and Canadian theaters on September 20.