James Franco on When You Can See His Great 'Saturday Night Live' Documentary

James Franco on When You Can See His Great 'Saturday Night Live' Documentary

Mar 04, 2013

A few years back James Franco brought a really fascinating documentary on a week in the life of Saturday Night Live onto the festival circuit. Then, following a successful run, it was picked up by Oscilloscope and was never heard from again, prompting those who had seen it (yours truly included) to wonder what ever happened to it as the months and years ticked by. Did Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels decide to kill it? Did NBC have issues with how much of the show was revealed? Just what exactly happened and would we ever get to see it again?

See, Franco was able to gain a tremendous amount of access to the show because he was friends with Lorne Michaels and much of the cast at the time (the doc tracks the piecing together of an episode hosted by John Malkovich in 2008), so they were a lot more open to him and his cameras than they'd ever been before. In a new interview with Mike Ryan at the Huffington Post, Franco admits that much of that access to the show came because he originally pitched it as a project for NYU, then realized it could be something bigger.

He says, "And then I realized I had all of this access that people had never been granted before. And I thought, well, heck, I'm not just going to waste this as a class project. This could be something interesting about comedy and creativity and the show. So, we shot a feature and put it together -- and then we had to go back and first get all of the performers to sign off, which they did. And then Lorne to sign off. But then we had to get NBC to sign off. And then NBC has some big turnover of executives, so the people who had signed off before were no longer there -- so we had to get new people to sign off. And then blah, blah, blah, blah blah."

Franco adds that the film left Oscilloscope and is now with the NBC-owned Focus Features, and that they're currently "working out the final logistics, and it will come out." Definitely good news for SNL fans; this is a funny, intimate and very revealing documentary that's at its best when you're locked in a room with writers at three a.m. as they attempt to crack through various sketches, or when one actress bombs an impersonation and finds her sketch cut because of it. 

More with Franco at HuffPo, and you can read my old review of Saturday Night over here. Additionally, here's our favorite sketch from the episode chronicled in the doc.


Follow along on Twitter @ErikDavis and @Moviesdotcom.


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