Hey, James Franco, Here's Your Future Three's Company Film's Cast and Plot
James Franco's latest foray into the realm of the bizarre is his idea of a film and stage version of the late '70s-early '80s sitcom Three's Company -- only this time as a drama -- based on a confounding performance Franco delivered at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Naturally this is Movieline's cue to help Franco cast the movie and help set a tone for a story that, upon closer examination, is already quite tragic (with only a few added embellishments):
Franco would obviously play Tripper, a sitcom hero made iconic by the late John Ritter. Franco's Tripper would differ from Ritter's, as we saw at Sundance, by being a much more tragic character: Remember, even in the series, Jack moves in with Janet and Chrissy after they discover him asleep in their bathtub after a party. At the time, Jack had just been dumped by his girlfriend, Linda, and was living at the YMCA -- something that, as a little kid, I thought was a completely normal thing to do considering Tripper talked about it so nonchalantly. Sure, Janet and Chrissy ask him to move in after their previous roommate Eleanor moves out to get married, but it's almost out of pity. Finally, Jack must pretend he's gay so as not to upset his extremely conservative landlord, who would not allow a heterosexual man to live with two women. This is a man with very few options.
First of all, yes, I'm aware that Chrissy and Cindy are not twins in the television series. But keeping in mind the casting budget, costs must be cut wherever they can. And it's apparent from Franco's production at Sundance that a man in drag will play Chrissy. When the story begins, Chrissy is a relatively intelligent woman who, off screen and unbeknownst to the audience, suffers a concussion in a terrible automobile accident. That's the only possible explanation for Chrissy's drastic shift in behavior from reasonable person to bumbling idiot who snorts when she laughs and styles her hair with a side ponytail. She eventually has to be institutionalized in Fresno. Her sister, Cindy, helps pay the rent temporarily until Jack and Janet find another blonde woman who can move in.
Janet is hopelessly single. Overshadowed by her roommates Chrissy (who is easy) and Eleanor (whom Janet had to watch plan a wedding), she's desperate. Janet often wears a sports T-shirt but seems to have no interest in sports. The men who do approach her are often flummoxed when all she wants to do is discuss her work at the flower shop -- a flower shop which, of course, is a front for a money-laundering scheme that Janet has no knowledge of. When the indictments are handed down, Janet is set up to take the fall. Her friends say they will support her, but right when the heat gets dialed up, Chrissy is institutionalized in Fresno and Jack, eventually, moves in with his new girlfriend, Vicki.
Terri is a nurse at the hospital in which Chrissy is committed, who just happens to be looking for a place to live and, considering Chrissy's current situation, makes a perfect fit for Jack and Janet. During the rest of the film -- considering that Terri is sleeping in Chrissy's old bed -- Terri is haunted by thoughts of Chrissy, which are just compounded by the constant presence of Cindy Snow. By the end of the film, Terri walks into the ocean, never to return.
Dallas is Jack's best friend. In Franco's version, Dallas would be older than Jack, signifying that Jack has very few options when it comes to friendship, so he settles for a used-car salesman in his 40s for male companionship. Cage, as Cage is wont to do, exaggerates a lot of his dialogue in an effort to impress the local woman at the Regal Beagle, but it comes off as sad and desperate. Jack knows that Larry is a shell of his former self, but refuses to discuss Larry's behavior at the risk of Larry taking his own life.
A conservative, talk-radio-listening man who has less of a problem with the thought of a gay man living in his building than the thought of any sexual relations happening whatsoever in his building. Stanley is secretly gay, however -- a fact he has yet to come to grips with and goes to great lengths to hide from his wife, Helen, even pretending he's asleep when she comes to bed in the mood for love. Stanley secretly admires Jack for having the courage to be open with his sexuality -- so much so, in fact, that Stanley admits his own sexuality to Jack, only to have Jack reveal that he only pretended to be gay in order to stay in the building. Shortly thereafter, Stanley and Helen move out of the building suddenly and with no explanation.
Possibly the most tragic role in the film: Helen and her husband, Stanley, have been sexless for over 10 years, but she has no idea of the secrets that he's hiding. Helen comes to believe that it is her advancing age and her deteriorating looks that have brought about the change in Stanley's sexual behavior, prompting her desperate but unnecessary change of wardrobe that primarily involves muumuus.
After the disappearance of the Ropers, the building in which Jack, Janet, Chrissy (and later, Terri) live is run by an odd, neckerchief-wearing fellow named Ralph Furley. The building is owned by Ralph's brother, Bart (Tony Sirico), a Mafioso type who may or may not have something to do with Stanley Roper's disappearance.
It's Franco's production, so, of course, he will also play a role in drag. Franco will portray Lana, the older woman who used to chase Jack around during the fourth season. Franco will finally reach the pinnacle of his quirkiness during a steamy sex scene in which he plays both roles.
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