Ok, so my rant on why the movie, Annapolis, doesn’t work cannot be complete without the explanation that stars James Franco and Tyrese Gibson did not, and still do not, get along. To give you a perfect example of this, I was at the premiere of the film a few days ago; James walked down the red carpet, just ahead of Tyrese. Normally, the cast and crew takes pictures outside the theater before they enter (the big stars are usually the last to arrive on the carpet). This night, James walked into the theater, with not even a glance at Tyrese.
And to prove my point even more, at the press junket for the film, the two spoke very candidly about their feelings toward the other. In fact, Tyrese was so open to talking about his ‘fued’ with James, nearly the entire 20 minutes we spoke to him, he discussed the tension on set.
Here’s a bit of what they both had to say:
Tyrese Gibson: Oh, yeah, Giovanni Ribisi was a method actor, but I think he had been method acting for a longer period of time than James so maybe his choice and how sever his method acting was due to it being fresh and new so to speak; it's like a religion. When you go from one religion to the other, you're living and breathing, eating and sleeping that religion 24-hours-a-day. You're trying to tell as many people as possible about this new religious venture. You're like ‘Oh, man,’ and ‘Mohammad,’ ‘Elijah!’ ‘Jesus!’ ‘Scientology!’ Can we just talk about something else for a minute? No, because Mohammad never talked about anything else. So, it's one of those situations where it is what is. But through it all, you're hired to do a job and hired to hopefully get along with everybody and get your job done as peaceful as possible. But, when it doesn't happen at the end of the day you gotta figure out a way to come out on top. And make sure you don't allow anyone to derail your focus and derail your throne, so to speak. You can go from looking at it as method or you can look at it as somebody strategizing and trying a way to outshine you through pissing you off, so to speak. You can get mad or bothered on any work environment, but you gotta know that you are there to do a job and at the end of the day you're there to answer you boss. So, James or anybody else on any other film set – they didn't hire me, y'know? But, I'm there to do a film with them, so it is was it is, your opinion against mine.
James didn’t really go into the lack of speaking between them, but he discussed his method acting as well, possibly leading to the feud:
James Franco: Well, there’s a little bit; through most of the shoot, I don’t think there was friction. What happens, when I do a role, especially an intense role, like this one, I like to keep to myself. When I’m in a role where there’s an antagonistic relationship with another character, it’s not like off screen, I’m not going to try to start fights with that actor or anything like that. Supposedly, James Dean did that with his co-stars. I just try to keep to myself; early in my career, I did a movie with Robert DeNiro and how he went about things. Give everything while they’re filming and then when they yell ‘cut,’ he kind of goes off do your own thing; and that’s what I tried to do. And then in the boxing scenes, everything’s choreographed and you go into those scenes, you should go into those scenes with an attitude. But this is not a real fight, you’re not trying to hit each other; if anyone’s trying to hit the other person, it’s a complete cheap shot because you’ve been working this choreography for all this time and you’re depending on this person to be at a specific place at a specific time. But inevitably, someone’s going to get hit, and it happened, and in all the boxing scenes in that movie; I’m sure it happens in all the boxing movies, somebody’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happened with Donny and I were doing it, and I didn’t even have a mouthpiece in at the time and he got me in the face; but you shake it off. I guess at one point, Tyrese thought that I was doing it on purpose, which I wasn’t and we’ve patched it up, I hope.
James went on to talk about other things about the movie, but the conversation with Tyrese continued on with the discussion on when the tension began between he and James:
Tyrese Gibson: I knew it straight from the gate man, it was one of those situations; you just pick up on people's energy. The thing is, as far as I'm concerned, I don't want you guys to even think it's his fault, because of the tension, sh*t came out of me, too; I'm a contributor to the tension. It is what it is; it is one of those situations you get into. As nice as I think you guys are, there are some people that come around you and bring the animal out of y'all. And you get so far out of character that when you actually think about what you said or what you did or how you reacted to what somebody brought out of you, can't even believe it yourself. For me, I happened to be a positive control freak. Did I make bad choices throughout my life sometime? Of course, I'm human; you learn from trial and error.
Since there were other cast members, Tyrese was able to get along with people on the set:
Tyrese Gibson: Me and Donnie (Wahlberg) got along well, I got along well with Chi (McBride), Jordana (Brewster); everybody, but James.
As far as the boxing scenes, I will say one good thing about the movie – those boxing scenes are shot very well. James put on about 15 pounds of muscle weight for the film; training was a very hard process:
James Franco: Well, I signed on before any of the other actors and I had about six months, before we started filming. The standard for boxing films is so high, and you hear about other actors who’ve done boxing roles and about how hard they worked and how they could really be fighters; you know that kind of thing. But I knew I had a lot to live up to; I used every bit of those six months to train. I went to the Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood, owned by Freddy Roach, one of the top trainers in the world. I asked them to train me like a real fighter, just get me in shape. It’s hard, you use a lot of muscles you’re not used to using, but after a few weeks, it’s kind of comfortable. I started sparring with a few of the guys there; they go easy, but I could get a sense of what it was like and then a couple months before shooting, we started choreographing the fights and go over them every day.
James actually became a licensed pilot due to the film, however he’s not going to be the next John Travolta. He hasn’t kept up his training. (ok, I didn’t mean that comment in the John Travolta/Scientology thing; John’s a licensed pilot, owns his own 747, and often flies commercial jets for Quantas Airlines).
Obviously, the two need to work on their people skills. James and Tyrese supposedly shook hands in the lobby of the hotel the day of the press junket, but apparently that wasn’t enough to salvage any type of relationship. We’ll just have to wait and see if they make another film together – my guess: probably not.
James is currently working on Spiderman 3, where he will reprise his role as Harry Osborn. But, the next film out for him is Flyboys; it’s about the Lafayette Escadrille, a group of fighter pilots during World War I.
Tyrese is working on a new company; he’s becoming the CEO of his own enterprise. Look for his reality show on TV soon. On the big screen, Tyrese will be seen in the movie adaptation of the comic book, Luke Cage; he’ll also be playing an ex-con who gets involved with the mob in Waist Deep.
As far as this film, if you really want to, you can check out James and Tyrese in Annapolis which opens in theaters January 27; it’s rated PG-13.