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James Franco Shaves Head, Takes Over Venice Film Festival

James Franco has undergone a drastic makeover for his next film, "Zeroville" — which started shooting right in the middle of the Venice Film Festival.
Posted at 10:10 PM, Sep 05, 2014

Ah, James Franco. Whether he's working behind the camera on an ambitious film project, or making us laugh in front of it, it's nice to know the his good looks and slick haircut are always — wait, what? What just happened?

Yes, Franco's coif has been cropped. The now-bald star documented the shave with before and after pics on his Instagram account. And he's undergone some more dramatic changes, too — note the 'stache and the "A Place in the Sun" scalp tattoo.

The new look is for Franco's next film, "Zeroville," an adaptation of Steve Erickson's 2007 novel by the same name. Franco's playing the lead character Ike "Vikar" Jerome, a near-autistic film fanatic exploring Hollywood during the 1970's.

Now, it's not that unusual for actors to undergo extreme transformations in order to play specific roles. What is a bit more bizarre is when actors co-opt their own awards ceremony to actually shoot footage for their next film.

Franco took his new look to the Venice Film Festival on Thursday, where he showed off a clip from his latest film, "The Sound And The Fury," and received the Glory to the Filmmaker Award. But before the ceremony, Franco turned on the cameras and took the stage in character to shoot a "Zeroville" scene.

A Daily Beast writer in the audience describes the experience thusly:  "The cameras started rolling. Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival ... gave a speech in Italian honoring 'Isaac Jerome.' Franco got up from his seat, and—looking startled—lumbered up to the stage, accepted the hardware, looked around quizzically, and muttered, 'That's not my name,' before being escorted offstage."

Franco did explain to the audience what was going on, commenting that the movie might preview at Venice next year. But enough about the film — let's go back to the shaved head. Is the world ready for a bald James Franco?

TMZ: "You guys, I never thought it was possible for him to not be hot, but I have to say he is definitely not hot right now."

"You don't like it?"

"No."

So ... that's a no, then. 

The new Franco is not getting a lot of positive reviews on the Internet: commentary ranges from "Pretty Creepy" to "Uncle Fester-esque" to "Seventies Porn Cop."

But a Bustle writer takes a more constructive approach, suggesting eight alternative hairdos Franco could consider if he's thinking about switching things up again.

Really, just about anything works, except what he's currently got going on.

This video includes images from Getty Images.