A new web series from AOL finds James Franco setting out to recreate some of his favorite and, just generally quintessential, scenes from classic films. With a group of friends, Franco has listed out a set of genres and time periods alongside a giant game show-style spinning wheel with different films and scenes listed, with moments from The Shining, When Harry Met Sally, Pulp Fiction and Taxi Driver, among others.
The series has posted four episodes since September, the premiere being a brilliant combination of Dirty Dancing and Reservoir Dogs‘ famous ear scene. Armed with all the right resources to recreate sets and costumes, Franco and his crew are able to give the right feel to the films they are replicating, and still put their own spin on things. In the case of their rom-com version of The Shining, they actually come pretty close to the interiors of the iconic room in the Overlook Hotel where Jack Nicholson famously axed the bathroom door and delivered the maniacal “Here’s Johnny!” line.
Listening to the crew talk about how they will approach each recreation at the beginning of the episodes is a good exercise in seeing how many aspects go into the overall effect of one scene. In the case of The Shining, a change of music is enough to totally reverse the tone and intentions of the aggressive action at the scene’s center. In the most recent episode, they approach the climactic, bloody ending of Taxi Driver through the lens of a silent film. The effect is, of course, hilarious, but also a great demonstration of how interesting it can be to play with genre, setting and the context of stories.
James Franco, naturally, takes on the lead role in all of the episodes posted so far, but his crew is just as great, notably the Jennifer Grey stand-in for the first episode. In the third episode, the crew mocks up as characters from Batman and Beetlejuice to play off the classic dinner dancing scene of the latter film.
With the different opportunities offered at The Audience Awards to play around with genre (i.e Horror, Experimental), we think this series should provide some inspiration, if not at least a few laughs.
Watch the premiere episode below.