What do James Franco, Danny McBride, Justin Theroux and a hung Minotaur have to do with UCSB? On Friday, April 1, 2011 the cast and crew of “Your Highness” came to UC Santa Barbara as the result of an online competition to host the premiere. The weather was beautiful, the crowd went gaga and UCSB turned out to be the perfect place to throw down for such an occasion.
Setting up early in the day, Storke Plaza buzzed with people and energy. Workers built a huge stage, laid out a red carpet and decorated the grounds with medieval ornamentation. The event began at 4:30 p.m. but the crowds started forming an hour and a half early.
The trumpets blew — clearly it was time to begin. As security cleared a pathway for the stars, fans started to cheer. Danny McBride led the way, followed by director David Gordon Green and other cast members. They descended the stairs into the arena and made their way on stage to address the crowd.
But there was someone missing — where was James Franco? As the A-list actor of the film, Franco provided much of the hype, yet he was nowhere to be seen. Notorious for arriving late to his own events, the crowd had to await his presence.
A little more than an hour later, Franco arrived and played to the crowd — the girls at least. He arrived with a disposable camera in hand. While everyone took pictures of him, Franco took some of his own. He leaned back into the front row of the crowd and took pictures with them like a tween on Myspace.
The girls loved it — many of them screamed invitations to pregnancy and carried posters with the same message. A true showman, Franco acted goofy for the crowd and enjoyed the environment in general. For about an hour before the first showing of the film, a line formed for autographs from the cast and crew. Wave after wave of students flooded the grounds of Storke Plaza while security regulated the premise. As the cast headed out we caught them for a few questions.
Nexus: Danny, I understand in addition to acting in “Your Highness” you also helped produce and co-write it. What are some of the reasons why you wanted to take on this project and invest so much of your own time and effort?
McBride: “Your Highness” is a total passion project. David [Green] and myself have known each other a long time and we kind of weirdly came to this position where people were looking to David for a studio movie and they were suddenly looking to me to be in a studio film and we didn’t want to waste that opportunity doing something safe. We wanted to make a fat crazy movie that we would want to go see, and that’s why we chose “Your Highness.” It’s unlike anything out in theaters these days.
Nexus: So Justin, how do you feel about the premiere being hosted at UCSB?
Theroux: You know, it’s a little weird being a grown adult showing up to a premiere with college kids around but I love it because it’s so much more fun. It looks like everyone is having a great time. It’s a party atmosphere and it feels like everyone just wants us here. Most of the time you’re shoved into some theater on Hollywood Blvd. and it’s all agents and press. This is a nice change of scene.
Nexus: James, I noticed whenever you do comedies you tend to play a stoner and you play them really well. How do you prepare for these types of roles and how do you stay looking blazed out of your mind?
Franco: I like to go a little too far in my preparation. So I do heroin, Special K, PCP and then I can pull it back a little and just play like I’m high on marijuana.
As the stars dispersed so did the crowds. Those who were fortunate enough to get tickets made their way to Pollock Theater for the first showing of “Your Highness” at 7 p.m.