James Franco may have earned a cool seven-figure salary for such blockbuster hits as Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Oz: The Great and Powerful.
But when it comes to geting his indie passion project made, the A-lister is taking a page from Zach Braff and the makers of Veronica Mars by calling on his fans to help out by chipping in with a little (or big) donation.
Franco has launched a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo to raise $500,000 to allow him to finance Palo Alto Stories, a triptych of films drawn from high school experiences he wrote about in his first book of short stories, Palo Alto.
Alas, for anyone thinking they'll be buying in on a chance to costar with the ever-busy multihyphenate, it's unclear whether he'll actually have a role in them.
In fact, the flicks—titled Memoria, Killing Animals and Yosemite—are to be adapted and directed by up-and-coming young filmmakers personally handpicked by Franco, who's putting his energies into producing the project.
"Generally, I see it as a book that's supposed to touch on universal things about being a teenager and coming of age and learning about the bigger world," said Franco in a video pitch. "We just need a little more help…I'm putting money into these projects because I believe in them, I believe in these filmmakers."
The 35-year-old actor added he believes crowdfunding is the "best way to make movies," plus all of the profits from the productions will go to the nonprofit charity Art of Elysium.
So far, Franco's plea has raised $29,000 with 29 days left to go in the campaign. However, unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo allows users to keep whatever they've raised even if they don't reach their goal.
If Francophiles want to pony up, perks include such goodies as an audio recording of three Palo Alto stories read by James for $20; a personalized signed yearbook photo and postcard for $200; a cellphone voicemail by James for $450 on up to a set visit for $2,500; an original painting by Franco for $7,000 and an executive producer title and VIP dinner for $10,000.