The Shmooze

James Franco's New Advertising Strategy

By Nathan Burstein

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To generate some buzz for his latest movie, “127 Hours” star James Franco is making use of a secret weapon - his sweet old Jewish grandma.

A likely Oscar nominee for the film, Franco released a short home video on Christmas Day featuring his grandmother, who joins the actor while wearing a Santa hat. “I’m the Number One Santa,” Franco’s grandmother says.

“That’s weird,” the actor responds, “because you’re - you’re Jewish.”

“Part Jewish,” she counters, before the pair move on to their main point of business: telling fans to check out his newest movie.

Having established her nice-old-lady status, Franco asks his grandmother what she thinks of moviegoers hesitant to see the film, which is based on the true story of a hiker who gets trapped under a boulder and must amputate his own arm to escape. Released in November, the film received enthusiastic reviews but has made some potential viewers queasy over its climactic scene. Franco’s grandmother, however, won’t stand for such sensitivities. “I think you’re a bunch of …!” she shouts at the camera, using an obscenity unprintable on a family-friendly blog such as this.

A Golden Globe nominee for “127 Hours,” Franco is widely expected to receive an Academy Award nomination for the film - and will be busy Oscar night regardless, having signed on to co-host the ceremony with Anne Hathaway.

The actor has spoken about his partial Jewish background before, once telling the New York Times that he regretted not having had a bar mitzvah. He jokingly made up for it last year it Harvard, performing a spoof ceremony while accepting a prize from the university’s Hasty Pudding Society. “I guess I wasn’t a man until tonight,” he quipped.


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