Hollywood Theatre Residency: The Redo Series Presents James Franco's My Own Private River
More than 2 decades ago, then 39-year-old director Gus Van Sant shot his idiosyncratic film My Private Idaho with River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. Now accepted into the Criterion Collection of art house DVDs, the film's leavings from the cutting room floor were snatched up and reworked into another take on the film by none other than budding actor-turned-director James Franco.
Now you can see the result, as Hollywood Theater screens a special free showing of Franco's My Own Private River. The temptation at the time of its 1991 release was to look at Idaho as a young gay romance—after all, it was one of the first “mainstream” pictures that even implied same-sex love. Franco's overhaul portrays the remake as a quest for identity in a strange world, as can we see from Phoenix's character who comes across more as an orphaned urchin than jilted lover. The made-over film casts a light upon the gritty fringes of society and examines how they make their unclear way through the world. We wrote an in-depth analysis of the original film by Gus Van Sant and the redone version by James Franco in 2011.