8:05pm PT by Chris Gardner
James Franco Was Scrubbed From Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue Cover
Vanity Fair debuted its anticipated Hollywood Portfolio today, and on the magazine's website the headline read, in part, "12 Extraordinary Stars, One Momentous Year." There was meant to be another star on the coveted cover spread, but he did not make the final cut due to the momentous year's most powerful movement, the Hollywood Reporter has learned.
According to multiple sources familiar with the shoot, James Franco sat for a photo shoot and interview and was to be featured in the magazine's Annie Leibovitz-shot portfolio. He was removed from the cover digitally, however, due to allegations of sexual misconduct that surfaced in the wake of his Golden Globe win for The Disaster Artist. Subjects for the Vanity Fair cover are often photographed separately in small groups and combined via digital imaging — Franco's removal, then, did not require a reshoot. That said, it's highly unusual for a star to be removed from an elaborate photo layout, especially so close to publication.
A Vanity Fair spokesperson confirmed the news to THR early Thursday evening. "We made a decision not to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover once we learned of the misconduct allegations against him," the spokesperson said.
A rep for Franco did not respond to THR's request for comment.
It's unclear when the final decision was made, but it likely was a sprint to the presses as the allegations surfaced only days after the Globes, in a Los Angeles Times report published Jan. 11. The story cited five women who accused Franco "of behavior they found to be inappropriate or sexually exploitative." Some of those women first came forward with accusations on social media.
Franco has denied the claims. During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he said, "I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed. I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way. It’s, I think, a good thing, and I support it."
The photo shoot has been in the works for months, with some of the shoots taking place in November. Featured — left to right — are Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, Michael B. Jordan, Zendaya, Jessica Chastain, Claire Foy, Michael Shannon, Harrison Ford, Gal Gadot, VF editor-in-chief Graydon Carter and Robert De Niro.
"The triple-panel cover started because I wasn't sure that one actor could carry the idea of all of Hollywood," Carter says in a behind-the-scenes video. "You needed a cast of actors and actresses to tell that period in Hollywood."
Meanwhile, the issue has been a subject of debate online today, as readers quickly pointed out perceived Photoshop fails, one featuring Reese Witherspoon and her three legs, and another with Winfrey and three hands, the latter of which was featured in a behind-the-scenes image.
Vanity Fair tweeted that the extra Winfrey hand was a mistake, while the extra leg was the lining from inside Witherspoon's dress.