James Franco for GQ Style Germany

Posted on March 07, 2012

Hey, remember when everyone was in love with James Franco and he was crowned, like the King of Cool or something? Is that over now? Because it seems like we rarely hear about him and when we do it’s not as glowing as it used to be. Has Ryan Gosling stolen his thunder? Did the Oscars last year really do that much damage to his image? These and other pressing questions will be part of our discussion this afternoon on “T Lo Asks the Hard Questions.”

But first, a word from our sponsor.

James Franco featured in the Spring Summer 2012 issue of  GQ Style Germany magazine photographed by Mariano Vivanco.

Okay, we’re just gonna say it. These are mostly horrible. He looks like shit in half of them and almost none of the clothes suit him. Some of them don’t even flatter him, like that jacket with the buckles. And we would have thought he’d run screaming from the whole “switchblade and pompadour” look. The James Dean thing only goes so far and he’s already been to that well enough times.  The only ones we like are the one with the mask and the shirtless one and even then, they both feel like a Mapplethorpe redux.

Weird little editorial.

[Photo Credit: via designscene.net]

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-TallGirl-Freeman/1043623567 Jessica TallGirl Freeman

    Bat. Shit. Crazy. 

    • http://twitter.com/TheRedZavodnik Ginger

      Girl, you stole the words right out of my mouth.

    • NinaBoo

      Bordering on Stranger Danger.

      • TropiCarla


        Then again, I put everyone into the Stranger Danger category by default so my opinion is perhaps a bit skewed.
        Seriously though, I usually think he is one fine specimen of a man but he looks awful here.

    • blogless

      He’s going to put an eye out! Sorry, my mom reflex just kicked in.

      • JosephLamour

        mine did too! hes gonna jab himself in the brain. eek.

  • http://twitter.com/connectinglines Me Again

    I still love him and think he’s hot.  But these pics are NOT doing it for me.  And yes, he has gone to the James Dean well too many times, as you say.

  • TheOppositeOfBatman

    It’s partly the Oscars, partly Gosling, and partly Franco doing a lot of things designed to make himself seem as pretentious as possible (not the GH stuff, more the oddly psychosexual performance art). I still think he’s a good-to-fantastic actor, and he’s still a looker, but he needs an image consult.

    • Lori

      I don’t think the GH stuff has helped him any either. It was originally billed as a one-off, but he keeps going back so it’s turned into the guest stint that never ends. It’s all about the oddly psychosexual performance art, to the point where t’s hard to tell what’s meta and what’s him just f’ing with us. As someone below pointed out, he’s now in Joaquin Phoenix territory, or darn close to it. That is not a good neighborhood.

  • Mandy Jensen-Doss

    I think they are hilarious.  Perhaps this is some type of performance art that we’re not getting?

    • Spicytomato1

      Maybe. But that schtick is getting old.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Sutton/1306915399 Chris Sutton

    I like it. I also see a little Mr. Jellyneck from Strangers With Candy (especially in the turtleneck). But I thought Mr. Jellyneck was hot, so what do I know? 

    • http://twitter.com/LPsometimes LP

      Ditto on all that.  I always like the ones with the dark, curly hair, though, so I’m gonna chalk it up to that.

  • http://www.thefoodhussy.com Heather Johnson

    it’s like a community theater version of west side story

    • MzzPants

      I resemble that remark.

  • Ms_Flyover

    He achieved overexposure being “cool” (whateverthehell that means these days.)  This isn’t going to help.  He really just needs to make a good movie, because he’s heading from “cool” to Joaquin Phoenix very quickly.

    • Terence Ng

      Hasn’t he already? Pineapple Express, Milk, 127 Hours, Howl? All of them were either commercial successes or critical successes.

      • Ms_Flyover

        Sorry – meant he needs to make another good movie soon (rather than doing these types of things).

      • MilaXX

         Yes but every time he does an editorial like this he cancels out all the good he did in those films.

    • bluefish

      I sat through I’m Still Here two of three times and made myself see the point — It does have some genuinely funny moments in it, which helps.  And Joaquin, bless him, is back to working with talented people (Paul Thomas Anderson, etc.)  I trust Joaquin will be back in a big way.  James needs to go away for awhile and get himself together.  He suffers from being unlikable and smarmy.  Howl was embarrassingly bad and boring.

  • kattyatlaw

    Bernardo, this rumble isn’t going to end well for you. Cool! Go! Crazy!

  • Martova

    Hilarious. I kept waiting for him to tell us “now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bethany-Roullett/100000413803142 Bethany Roullett

      Those are the exact words that ran through my head too.

    • AthenaJ

      YES!! Exactly what I was thinking too!

      “Touch my monkey! Love him! LOVE HIM!!”

    • jilly_d

      Martova, I want to like your comment 1,000 times.  Sprockets was all I saw when I scrolled past that turtleneck.

    • Artesian_Belle

      Exactly! This shoot is VERY German.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/CY7ZKTSIU2LMK6NQCDJMAQTHUU Cassandra

        What is that supposed to mean? Being a German and living there I don’t get how and why this shoot is VERY German? I had to look up Sprockets on Youtube (and don’t understand the alleged humor of that either) and I doubt that any German GQ editor has ever seen it and therefore refered to it in this editorial.

  • Geno Boggiatto

    These really ARE bad!!!! I’m loving the last one, but the rest are just.. yikes.

    • RebeccaKW

       I agree on the last pic.

  • MzzPants

    Completely weird.  I blame everyone but James Franco.  Isn’t he off getting a Phd in writing or something?

  • formerlyAnon

    These are ridiculous. They have the sensibility of young “student work” to me, but executed with a bigger budget and a more polished technical skill set.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CNDPMVO4W23R5TVC2QMTJ5BZE Heather

    My thought was, “Mapplethorpe shoots Flock of Seagulls.” That hair is bad. The styling is bad. He looks stoned to the gills. James, you used to be so cute. What happened?

  • dress_up_doll

    As they say in Hollywood he needs a new project to work on. And I agree with The Opposite of Batman, an image consult wouldn’t hurt either.

  • Christine Marie

    Maybe I have some weird fetish that I don’t know about, but I don’t think they’re THAT bad. Like he looks sort of hot in some of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380079551 Marie Dees

    Wonders if “German Existential Rough Trade” will replace the Hipster look.

    • Renaissance_Man_ATL


    • http://twitter.com/asciident Melissa Brogan

       Bit of a mouthful, though. We’ll need a good shorthand name for it.

  • S. Jenna Lutz

    Not only is the fashion bad AND he looks like that hell – it’s all such a nonsense that the only thing I keep coming up with as I look at the images is “Man, he is holding that knife ALL wrong. He’s going to get hurt with that thing.” (Side effect of having a lot of family in the military, the police, and in security work. I’ve gotten the correct way to hold weapons drilled into my head from family all my life). Just sad looking. And I don’t mean “oh, he looks so emotionally wrought”. I mean “wow – he’s gotten rather pathetic lately.” Not the vibe I think he was going for…

  • lizajane1776

    I am getting a Gary Oldman vibe from the one with the black turtleneck.
    Poor Gary.

  • Beardslee

    Weird little editorial indeed!  Kind of mortifying, I’d think, if I were he.

  • NC_Meg

    What in the hell?

  • Maria Rosenfire

    Mapplethorpe is such an odd inspiration for a photoshoot that’s meant to show off clothes. He was shocking and innovative in his time, but current attempts to emulate that blend of S&M and art, particularly in a commercially focused magazine, are just going to end up looking slutty and desperate for attention.

  • http://twitter.com/ursny UrsNY

    BWAHAHAHAHA! ~snort~ Ah man, love the Germans. This is hilarious. All the guy needs is a monkey for us not to touch. I think the art direction matches the subject’s self-image, or the public perception of his self-image.

  • http://profiles.google.com/denise.alden Denise Alden

    The Germans seem to like their American celebrities a little bit ugly with a dash of icky, don’t they?

  • EAV

    The one of him in just the black turtleneck made me bust out laughing.  Oh, no no no no no.

  • pawtley

    He looks gross and oddly compelling in these, yet still love him (Daniel Desario!) and I enjoyed his book of short stories.

  • altalinda


  • kingderella

    hes not my type and i dont really care about him as an actor or celebrity either, but i think the editorial is ok. the “switchblade & pinky” one is hilarious (not in a good way). but the “callboy unpacking the goods” one is sexy. in a porny way, but sexy nontheless.

    gosling is on another level completely.

    • sid123

      Ohhh funny!  I didn’t notice the bad-ass pinky/blade gangsta pic…this turns into a whole SNL skit in my head.

  • schadenfreudelicious

    these can’t possibly be serious photos….can they?….

  • Sue_Asponte

    He just looks like an ass. I haven’t seen that amputation movie so all I know him by is the Oscars, where he was … an ass.

    • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

      Oh, you should! I know this set of pics is laughable, but 127 Hours was riveting.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5UQHEKG5EDX4T6NMARUC565TPQ Amy

    When you follow this: “Has Ryan Gosling stolen his thunder? Did the Oscars last year really do that much damage to his image?” with THESE pictures, all I can do is laugh until I fall out of my chair. My apologies to GQ but this is absolutely hysterical.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Space_Kitty Space Kitty

    That’s some derptastic hair right there, to say nothing of the clothes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1253053236 Belle Burnett


  • BrooklynBomber


  • EditKitten

    He has that bored/pissed look on his face, and clearly wasn’t gonna commit. And it shows, and he knows it, and he picked up his paycheck and went off in a huff and got drunk.

    Just a hunch.

  • sid123

    whoa those are some bloodshot eyes in the first pic, which may explain the mask in the second….

  • http://www.facebook.com/madgeylou Megan Dietz

    ricky ricardo, you need to take a shower.

    • Jen Freeman

      OMG. SOO glad I’m not the only one who saw Ricky Ricardo. In that pic where he’s looking sideways and in the middle of crossing his arms, I immediately thought “LUCY. YOU GOT SOME ‘SPLAININ’ TO DO!”

  • http://twitter.com/starlounging Ann M. Erickson

    He loves himself too much.

  • TSkot

    It’s the hair…  But he could still have his way with me!

  • mjude

    i dont think he ever gives a rats do you?

  • RebeccaKW

    This is like a bad “Outsiders” photo.  The switchblade is just weird-in the one of him pointing it away from his eye, he doesn’t even look like he knows how to hold it. And what’s with the 2nd to last picture?  Is he playing with himself?  He looks ridiculous, but I do kind of like the last picture. 

  • CQAussie

    He just comes across as a total wanker.  And yes, these photos are not doing him any favours in altering that perception.

  • http://twitter.com/ryenerman rynerman

    Just awful.  Unflattering, unattractive, just bad.

  • http://twitter.com/LianaBrooks Liana Brooks


  • Sara__B

    What everyone else said. X2.

  • Jessi03

    What did Germany do to him?  He looks awful!!!

  • Judy_J


  • Synnamin

    Low-rent Mapplethorpe

  • SignLadyB

    Pretty much agree with all TLo comments. The second to the last is the most evocative of James Dean–against the concrete wall wearing the wife beater and that is mostly due to the stance and the shadowed profile. And the switchblade in the cover shot is just eeew! He can go back where he came from, thanks.

  • Kayceed

    You saw James Dean, I saw…..Hasselhoff.

  • Jecca2244

    and i remember when he was my celeb crush!

  • TLoFanBoy

    “Der Hollywoodstar inszeniert als Robert Mapplethorpe” on the cover means that they were meant to feel like Mapplethorpe redux. Not that that’s a good thing in this instance.

    And totally agreed about Mr. Jellyneck! And, um, I too will admit to finding him hot.

  • scarlet1815

    The pictures feel like a Mapplethorpe redux because that was the intent of the photoshoot. It’s LITERALLY written on the cover.

    (Ooops, while I was typing, TLoFanBoy posted the same thing!)

  • http://twitter.com/Nancer Nancer

    Yuck. What a shame.

  • greatscoutm

    He looks wicked stoned in the 7th image.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Stephens-Bassett/1503492602 Karen Stephens Bassett

    These photos suck.

  • MmmmmmmmK

    Booger in Revenge of the Nerds.

  • http://twitter.com/Kerry_McC Kerry McCombs

    Supposedly he has been cast as Robert in a Mapplethorpe biopic, so that could explain these Mapplethorpe-y shots.

  • http://twitter.com/Kerry_McC Kerry McCombs
  • http://twitter.com/watchinginkdry Dr Skylaser

    Haaaaate the weird fourteen-year-old’s mustache he’s wearing.

  • kimmeister

    What a ridiculous spread.

  • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

    They have made him looked like a crazed ax murderer.   And that jacket with the buckles?  They should be ashamed of putting that in print.  The fit is horrible in every respect.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3AJ237ND3GAHDQJZ4TLCO4WLRA Emily

    pretty bad.

  • MinasAunt

    He baffles me.  The people that thought he was so great baffle me.  I don’t find him attractive and all his projects scream “dilettante” to me.  Is he what public intellectuals have become?  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

    Since I read about this I have felt that Franco is a self-important d-bag:


  • nel.mcdonald

    They all look like promo shots for a variety of bad 70s films in which he plays the villain…

  • Rrroza

    Umm…it does say right on the cover “The Hollywood star staged as Robert Mapplethorpe”. So it’s intentional, though it still looks pretty bad. 

    • Rrroza

      Apologies!!! My comment feed was sorting in the wrong order. I see others have made the same point. (I go away now)

    • http://twitter.com/ThatFerd Ferdinanda Florence

      I saw that on the cover, and was scrolling down to see if there were any photos of him with a bullwhip.  Never know how wacky these German editorials can get.  Apparently, not THAT wacky.  

  • nannypoo


  • charlotte

    I laughed.

  • aimee_parrott

    What the fuck?  What’s up with the Adrian Zmed hair?  Who the hell styled this thing? 

    • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

      Adrian Zmed! *snort*

  • NCDFan

    concur. a cheap version of james dean

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49702581 Susan Bullard Mayer

    The turtleneck shot is HILARIOUS!  I think he gets it!

  • girliecue

    I can’t stop smiling. GQStyle Germany should start a series, “If This Hollywoodstar Was German…” 

  • http://vhanna26.typepad.com Vera

    Yeah, they are mostly weird and somewhat unflattering, but the mask picture moved the needle a bit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523566011 Dawn Grimes Stough

    hahahahahahaha…  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    He is holding those scissors so that in the next frame he can cut the shit out of that ridiculous pompadour.  

  • portlandmermaid

    I miss George Chakiris.

  • http://twitter.com/anibellee Lynsey M.

    I love/mock the turtleneck/poofy hair picture.  He looks ridiculous in all of these though.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    You put that editorial on and even have to ask why his shine has faded?

  • margaret meyers

    The toughest guy in community theater!

  • http://twitter.com/TigerLaverada TigerLaverada

    LOL. He looks like a refugee from A Flock of Seagulls.

  • Rand Ortega

    Oscar hosting killed the cool. He’s so 2010.

  • Monabel


  • alyce1213

    Mr. Hubris himself. He’s nasty and only marginally talented, just so full of himself.  

    A couple of teachers I know at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was getting his master’s degree in film production (he rarely attended class), said he behaved like he was above all the other students (who were generally more talented than him), was snotty and disrespectful, an overall creep.  
    I saw an off-off-Broadway performance piece he did in NY last summer and it was a joke — embarrassing.   
    He looks like he needs to bathe.

  • Toto Maya

    He looks so bored and over it. Go home, Franco.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    My working theory is that James Franco got caught by one paparazzo, and the face in that candid shot was then pasted onto a bunch of cheesy b&w shots of random men in bad clothes.

  • bitterk

    Embrace your good looks and fortune!  Drop the artist schtick!  Your fans are waiting!

  • ri_dic

    These are horrible.

  • bellafigura1

    I can’t even.  I’m still in my special-happy Norman Reedus place.

  • Lisa

    Yeah, he just looks gross and skeevy here.  

    I know everyone makes the James Dean comparison, which he’s coasted on for ages, but I have to admit – one of my favorite things that he ever did was on SNL when he played James Dean in the Vincent Price skit.  It really was hilarious!

  • tworabbitshow

    Boy, that is not your hair.

  • MilaXX

    I was looking at these thinking how amateurish they all looked. Every single one is a cliche of foreign art films, especially the cover picture.


    I wanna WOOF but what the FUCK with that hair?

  • siriuslover

    Ok, I’m gonna say it. I love, love, love, James Franco.


    I hate, hate, hate, every single picture in this editorial. He does a better job with his self portraits on twitter.

  • tinyredlocks

    He may not be a douche, but he certainly looks like one here…

  • PRFan

    After seeing the Norman Reedus spread, this one doesn’t hold up at all.  Reedus just looks so much more badass.  Poor Franco looks ridiculous styled like this.  I can’t even see the clothes for the crazy head and facial hair.  Wackadoo.

  • PastryGoddess

    I’m sorry… I couldn’t see half of these pictures due to the overwhelming aroma of douche wafting up off of the screen

    • kentiesgirl

       So that’s that smell. Eau D’Franco. Couldn’t place it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2LIE6ISFQUBIAO7OB6U5TAVXXQ Depot'er


  • quiltrx

    Blech.  I’ve always thought he was too much of a halfass to give serious “star” consideration.  And these pictures look really stupid.

  • AzulFashion


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6RS6NLL44AED3E4QWIYTDQGU6I Psy_Chick

    Too! Much! Hair!!!

  • http://profiles.google.com/sara.e.munoz Sara Munoz

    That is some SAD chest hair. 

    On the plus side though, the last two pics are giving off a Jeff Buckley vibe.

  • PeaceBang

    When I saw the blindfolded image on the thumbnail I thought, “Oh good, they’re gonna shoot him!” Just kidding. But f’reals, he looks wicked bad here. Like, I laughed-out-loud bad.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2P2ANLRZ6YAVGONA36I2AQJYGI VicD

    What a douche.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12331205 Aaron Fancey

    Fuck all y’all – I love James Franco and his VERY blase attitude.  He’s got his acting credentials, and then some, so he chooses not to engage in the press circus that now includes fashion for young hollywooders coming up.  Is this editorial conventionally attractive?  Uhhh no, not at all.  But I doubt that was the point and I love the raggedy look he’s sporting (especially that hair, though mine’s kind of the same so I would like it).

  • umeboshi

    i dont mind them, except for two things
    1) include a shot of his famous dimply, wide grin.
    2) the blurry picture is ridiculous. why include that? looks like it was taken on a crappy cell phone, and the beer bottle looks lewd. 

  • GTrain

    I think he is fi-yah but I hate this. With the exception of the mask shot, I hate the hair, the poseur posing and the clothes. As with the Oscars, I’m going to try to forget he ever did this.

  • ChristySchiff

    Actually, the pompadour and switchblade made me think Kenickie from Grease.  And you know what – I think he would kill that part.  I know it’s a sacrilege talking “remake” about Grease… but I could see him in it.

  • miwome

    I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be Mapplethorpe themed. I forget where I read that, but I believe that to be the case. Which is why I’m less mad at him than I otherwise would be.

    I AM mad at him for agreeing to do this, though. His problem right now is that the Artiste persona has gone way too far, and he’s tipped over into being a joke. He needs to remind people of when he played the weed dealer in Pineapple Express–bring back the more down-to-earth, likeable parts of his personality. Of course, getting an actual acting job so people could talk about his work would be good; he is a very good actor, when he bothers.

    I say all this because obviously I am rooting for him not to be a total pretentious asshole (or at least to do a better job of pretending not to be one). He’s pretty AND talented. Just, jesus, stop fucking it up.

    • charlotte

       You might have read that on the cover.

      • miwome


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1322813522 Lizabeth Joy

    Live Long and Prosper!…errr…wait, I’m gonna cut you with my scary knife.

  • SapphoPoet

    I think he jumped the shark with the Oscar debacle. 

  • bluefish

    The love for Franco has evaporated because he’s proven himself to be a pretentious jerk.  Ryan Gosling can act circles around James.  These photos are repulsive.  (The desperately horrible Oscar presentation with Anne Hathaway managed to hurt both of their careers.)

  • mozzer0906

    They are all horrible.  So much so my upper lip curled in disgust looking at them.  Gross.  He does nothing for me.

  • http://twitter.com/TMamBo Therese Bohn

    In the buckle jacket he looks like an assistant for Dr. Evil!  (oddly, that’s the only one I like)   Otherwise, these really stink. James, get a new agent.

  • Mariah J

    Why does he always look stoned??

  • Mariah J

    Why does he always look stoned??

  • kentiesgirl

    I didn’t think this guy could be made to look awful. Wowwie was I wrong. That drunk peeing on the wall/wanking it shot…who the heck thought THAT was a good idea. 

    I could tolerate the 6th pic if he didn’t look like he just walked past someone doing whatever is going on in that 8th pic.

  • Sunshine16


  • ThaliaMenninger


  • tsid2012

    THAT HAIR!!!  Ugh, so god awful crazy.  To me, he is giving off an unpleasant Marc Anthony vibe here and I find the former Mr. JLo uber creepy.  Not the James I love.  Not at all…..

  • http://twitter.com/algaechick Crystal

    When I saw the tiny pic of the cover, I thought “they’re making him shave-it’s a cleaning-up-Franco editorial”. Nope. Disappointing. 

  • PhillipWilde

    Well, it even says on the cover that the editorial is Mapplethorpe-inspired.  But yeah, it doesn’t have the same impact as Mapplethorpe.  I will say I’m glad he skipped the bullwhip though.

  • Cathy S

    That’s just terrible. James Franco deserves better than that. He’s unrecognizable in some of those pictures–although perhaps he’s happier that way, considering how horrible they are.

  • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

    Dislike.  Kinda douchey.

  • greyhoundgirl

    Eeew.  So ridiculously mannered.

  • Candigirl1968

    Over him.  And the spread is probably some “collaboration” he had with the photographer to say something about something or other. Like much of Franco’s more current body of work, it’s just not very good.

  • lucasuk82

    Well, this is from the country that idolizes David Hasselhoff…

  • maggiemaybe


  • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

    Love them, especially the hair! He was having fun being actor-y, as usual.