In Defense of James Franco’s Lana Del Rey Book

For an artist whose own work plays on strange celebrity, Franco is the perfect choice.
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For an artist whose own work plays on strange celebrity, Franco is the perfect choice.
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It’s a match made in pop culture heaven—the inscrutable Lana Del Rey and the pseudo-pseudo intellectual James Franco. While Lana Del Rey’s artistry and talent have been scrutinized to death, and James Franco’s own almost limitless production of culture has been ceaselessly lambasted, never have the two intersected to comment on each other. Until now.

Following up on his introduction to a V Magazine profile of the singer, Franco has now co-authored a 100-page book, to be released next year, that will chronicle and comment on the Maxim cover star. Franco, who has already written novels, screenplays, directed films, and started international incidents, will be called Flip-Side: Real and Imaginary Conversations With Lana Del Rey and feature just that—both real and imaginary conversations with Lana Del Rey.

While many have scoffed at yet another attempt by Franco to pose as an intellectual inside a west coast culture of pop meaninglessness, we’re actually looking forward to it. Franco has more often than not proved himself to be a worthwhile thinker, and while sometimes what he does comes off as scattershot and half-baked (or, often, makes it seem like he’s fully baked), Franco can understand the strange world that Lana Del Rey inhabits. It’s a world where being a celebrity is the goal, and as you draw ever-nearer to ubiquity and stardom, the void grows ever closer. There’s a deep sadness to all of Lana Del Rey’s work, and that loneliness is worth exploration. Franco just might be the guy to do it.

Photos by Getty Images