When they worked together on Milk, James Franco was obsessed with discussing the 1991 film My Own Private Idaho with director Gus Van Sant.  He emphasised the “obsessed” part in front of the audience of one hundred press and fans who gathered to see Franco, alongside Van Sant, discuss their collaborative art installation Memories of Idaho at TIFF Bell LightboxThe installation features deleted scenes and alternate shoots from Van Sant’s iconic film.

“It’s not supposed to compete with My Own Private Idaho, its supposed to be an embryo—or a study,” Franco explained about the two piece art installation, which is broken into My Own Private River and Idaho, andscreening for free at the TIFF Bell Lightbox until September 18th.

Franco also discussed the pressures and expectations of mainstream theatrical film releases and the creative outlet art installations offered: “Installation projects at a film festival are not one thing or the other.” Van Sant and Franco hope to tour the installation elsewhere, and Van Sant has already offered Franco a script to consider.

Van Sant’s Restless premiered on the opening evening of TIFF, starring Mia Wasikowska and Dennis Hopper’s son, Henry.  The director’s art house films have launched the mainstream success of many young actors, including Heather Graham (Drugstore Cowboy) who was seen passing the conference.

The discussion ended with Franco revealing he will direct Child of God, based on Cormac McCarthy’s book.  The tired-looking Franco announced that his plans for the rest of TIFF were to drive back to Detroit for a 5 a.m. call for the filming of Oz, but not before he bought portraits of himself created by thirteen year-old Macy Armstrong.

~ Ivana Markotic