Sometimes in life, when watching or reflecting on a beloved film, there are characters that you feel might deserve a bit more attention. Sometimes you think about the character for a while after finishing the film, wanting to see more of them. Unfortunately in many cases you don’t get to see more of your favourite character, but nothing is stopping you from imagining what could have been. Luckily, we have Sati of the amazing Cinematic Corner who has started a Spin-off Blogathon where you can put your imagination to work!
Your task? To imagine a new film where your chosen character is the centre of their own spin-off. Sati is accepting posts until the 30th of March, so there’s still time to contribute to the blogathon! It’s been really interesting to see which characters people have picked, and Sati’s post on Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) from Black Swan (2010) is quite wonderful indeed.
My choice for a potential spin-off film is the character of Alien from Spring Breakers (2012), who is portrayed with gusto by the highly adaptable James Franco. Warning: There will be spoilers ahead! If you haven’t yet seen Spring Breakers, it is advisable to do so before reading this post.
Spring Breakers tells the story of four college girls who rob a restaurant in order to raise funds for the spring break party of a lifetime. The film chronicles their descent into violent crime on a holiday that was initially just about having fun away from the monotony of classes and schoolwork. Finding themselves arrested after a rowdy party once they finally make it to Florida, the girls are mysteriously bailed out of jail by Alien (James Franco); a local rapper, drug and arms dealer, and general life-winner according to himself. After being accepted into his circle, the girls begin to assist him with crimes and live the high life with him, even as their numbers dwindle and some return to college.
Why would I like to see a film about James Franco’s depiction of Alien? When watching Spring Breakers, he was the absolute stand-out of the film for me. His transformation into the character was completely insane in a good way, to the extent where he stole every scene he was in. The four girls’ characters tended to be slightly indistinct from one another, other than Selena Gomez whose role was to act as the ‘moral compass’ for the group. James Franco’s portrayal of the white rapper slash criminal with an infinite sense of pride and accomplishment (“Look at my sheeyit! This ain’t nuttin’, I got ROOMS of this shit!”), not to mention a heart of gold, was equal parts hilarious and sinister, with incredibly quotable dialogue and an outlandish persona. I’d love to see more of this character on screen.
More specifically, I would be interested in seeing Alien’s origin story. For example, what his childhood was like, his adolescence, and how that might have influenced his future occupation and illegal hobbies. He describes his childhood and development into adulthood in the film:
“Some kids… some little kids, they wanna grow up to be president, some kids wanna grow up and be a doctor, y’know? I just wanted to be bad, they kicked me outta school, I thought that was great! Shieet, I don’t have to go to yo’ school, that was the best thing in the world! Some people? They wanna do the right thing? I like doing the wrong thing! Everyone’s always tellin’ me “Yo, you gotta change…” … I’m about stacking change y’all! Stacking change! That’s it. Money! I’m about making money. This a dream y’all. This the American dream… that’s it, I did it. Most my brothers and sisters… they dead. It was all bad. They got murdered. I’m the last one standing. I’m as bad as they is. Just in our blood y’all and I love it. This is my dream. I made it come true. This is the fuckin’ American dream.”
This summary in and of itself is pretty revealing, but considering how enigmatic his character is on screen, I would love to see this story playing out on film. I can imagine a film that’s in alignment with Korine’s characteristic visual style as it has developed over time – something that starts out gritty and improvised like Gummo (1997) during Alien’s childhood, and ends up with the high contrast and neon lights of Spring Breakers as his life leads towards its inevitable conclusion. Maybe Alien during adolescence was actually the kid in the bunny hat in Gummo. Who knows.
Not to mention, it would be great to see more of this:
What do you guys think? Do you have any picks for a great spin-off film?