James Franco, please step away from Instagram. Just weeks after the actor apologized for using the platform to proposition a 17-year-old female fan he met outside the Broadway theater where he's performing "Of Mice and Men," he's once again created a social media storm.
This time, he's taken aim at New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley, who reviewed the show's opening night on Wednesday.
Brantley didn't even come close to eviscerating the actor, who stars as George opposite Chris O'Dowd's Lenny. But, unlike other critics, he wasn't all that wowed, either.
"Though he sports a Yosemite Sam accent, Mr. Franco is often understated to the point of near invisibility," he commented. "It's a tight, internal performance begging for a camera's close-up."
As for George and Lenny's chemistry, "Neither actor overplays, which is considerate, but they do remain largely monolithic," added Brantley, who concluded that the show was a "generally inert revival."
That led Franco to post an all-caps rant on Thursday.
"Sadly Ben Brantley and the NYT have embarassed [sic] themselves," railed Franco in a since-edited post (captured by Vanity Fair writer Richard Lawson). "Brantley is such a little b---- he should be working for Gawker.com instead of the paper of record. The theater community hates him, and for good reason, he's an idiot."
The new post merely includes a link to a rave review from Variety, which calls the star's performance "beautifully crafted" and enthuses that his "personal magnetism works perfectly for George." His subsequent posts have also featured positive reviews.
It's not all bad news from the New York Times, however. The dog featured in the play got a rave from Brantley.
"Though Mr. Franco musters a single, perfect tear for the play's tragic climax, I only came close to shedding one," he wrote. "That was in the first act, when a dog (a real one) is led offstage to be shot because it stinks. That dog seemed to have true fear and bewilderment in its eyes. It felt, well, human, in a way none of the people did, and my heart sank when I knew it wouldn't be coming back."
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