James Franco is only interested in positive reviews, thank you very much.
The Oscar-nominated actor is starring on Broadway's "Of Mice and Men," with Franco playing George opposite Chris O'Dowd's Lennie.
The show opened on Wednesday night, and while many of the reviews have been glowing, New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley's feedback wasn't entirely positive.
"Though he sports a Yosemite Sam accent, Mr. Franco is often understated to the point of near invisibility," writes Brantley. "It’s a tight, internal performance begging for a camera’s close-up. And only in the play’s second scene — in a bunkhouse, where Lennie retells George about the dream farm they’ll someday own together — did I sense a warming current of affection between the characters."
However, Brantley went on to compliment Franco's talent and, all in all, it was hardly a scathing review.
Still, the actor was not amused.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Franco shared a link to Variety's positive article, while also taking the time to rant about Brantley.
"SADLY BEN BRANTLEY AND THE NYT HAVE EMBARASSED (sic) THEMSELVES," Franco wrote (see a screenshot here). "BRANTLEY IS SUCH A LITTLE BITCH HE SHOULD BE WORKING FOR GAWKER.COM INSTEAD OF THE PAPER OF RECORD. THE THEATRE COMMUNITY HATES HIM, and for good reason, HE'S an idiot."
If the name Ben Brantley sounds familiar, that's because Franco isn't the first star he has irritated.
Brantley wrote an unfavorable review of Alec Baldwin's "Orphans" last May. The actor similarly went off on Brantley in a Huffington Post article titled "How Broadway Has Changed."
"Ben Brantley, who I must state up front is no fan of mine… is not a good writer," Baldwin stated. "Brantley is viewed as some odd, shriveled, bitter Dickensian clerk who has sought to assemble a compendium of essays on theatre, the gist of which often have no relationship to the events onstage themselves… Beyond the obvious impact that a weak or scathing review in the Times has on sales, particularly with booking agents for tourists, no one I know of in the theatre reads Brantley except in the way that a doctor reads an x-ray to determine if you have cancer. Brantley doesn't offer criticism, per se, as much as he seeks to signal to some that they are actually unwelcome on Broadway."
Clearly, James Franco agrees.
- James Franco
- Ben Brantley