James Franco & Stephen Colbert discuss Oz, Tolkien (video)

I’m a big Wizard of Oz fan and Tolkien fan, and Stephen Colbert fan too – and James Franco has been growing on me.

It’s hard to imagine the Tolkien bit at the end wasn’t planned…

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • melissa green

    Whether or not that ending was planned, it definitely was
    entertaining! One thing for sure is that you never know what is going to happen
    in a Colbert interview, and that is exactly why I make sure to watch every
    single one! Even when I get caught up in my office at DISH while it’s on, I always
    make a point to take my breaks to watch it live anyways. It’s days like those
    that make my DISH Anywhere app really come in handy, since it lets me take my
    TV wherever I go. This handy app connects my mobile devices through Wi-Fi to my
    home DVR’s live and recorded TV content, so I can watch all my channels just
    like I was in my living room even when I’m not. It’s the only way I can stay up
    to date on my favorite shows!

  • James Franco is interesting. He was just awful in the Spider-Man movies but then I think that was the material. (Seriously, he pouted and tantrumed almost as much as Hayden Christensen.) But he can shine in the right role.

  • Oh wow! Now that is some fascinating lore.

    You’re right also: There are so many secondary and tertiary characters whose stories I would have liked to read more about, and not just old Tom Bombadil. What I found particularly fascinating about the entire body of work was how much effort Tolkien put into filling in all of the details — even though he didn’t really plan on publishing most of it. When I first discovered the Lord of the Rings (can’t say I was terribly impressed with my first outing in the genre, The Hobbit), to my impressionable mind it felt not like he was making up a fictional world, but merely recounting one which had once existed. I loved how he started with an actual creation ‘myth’ and went forward from there, with each Age becoming something dear, something great, and then fallen and lost, only to be replaced by something new.

    Anyway, thanks for the treat!

  • Sweetie

    There is also the male prostitute character he played that beat a man for the crime of wanting to fellate him.

  • Indigo

    That’s the two most nerdy celibutants in television today. They’re great as a team! I’m looking foward to Franco’s portrayal of Alan Ginsberg in the upcoming movie about the Beats. I have that cosy feeling that Franco is one of us, or maybe I’m just daydreaming again . . .

  • hauksdottir

    No wonder I like your way of thinking! Researching Tolkien’s sources led directly to my Special Projects Major in Early Scandinavian Culture. BTW, Professor and Mrs Tolkien have Beren and Luthien engraved on their headstones. Getting that tale “right” really was an obsession, whereas I’d have liked to have had a wondrous story about the two blue wizards who traveled east without even leaving their names behind.

    For those who haven’t gone digging through multiple mythologies, here is a taste from an early poem. The Elder Edda has several poems with challenges and riddle games and naming contests (feats of memory) where these mighty vikings don’t stick each other with swords but with words from their vast knowledge. There is more than one way to trounce an opponent. ;) One could also trick a troll into revealing what she knows (trolls cannot lie and can’t be lied to: “I’m of troll-blood and know what’s what!”) or call up a seer who’ll pull up scenes from past or future. Voluspa is such a seer and here is a translation of the Catalog of Dwarves, which contains many familiar names.


  • I AM THE SAME! Also took an upper level English Lit elective on Tolkien in which our final exam involved role-playing a character (I chose Arwen because I already had her dress). Love love loooovvveee when Stephen goes all Middle Earth.

  • Colbert won a Tolkien geek off against PHILIPPA BOYENS. Sorry James Franco – you didn’t have a chance. That being said, have to admire the man for trying! Love this, love Colbert.

  • celticbuddha

    Mr. Franco might grow on Mr. Avarosis a little faster if he watches the clip of Franco doing fellatio on another guy in some period role he played. I saw the clip on some blog a while back, I forget the details, but it showed him fellating an erect (prosthetic) penis for about a minute. Obviously he has no qualms about playing a gay character quite graphically.

  • rmthunter

    OK — I actually laughed at the end. I never do that.

    That was a hell of a lot more interesting than most TV interviews. But then, both Franco and Colbert are a hell of a lot more interesting than most interviewers/interviewees.

  • *shows her Supreme Geekdom Card*

    I’ve read every single volume. Multiple times. Including the Lost Tales, the Histories, and the additional background volumes produced by his son Christopher. They chew up a shelf and a half in the bookcase about 10 feet from where I sit. (I will admit, reading version after version of the tale of Beren and Lúthien does start getting somewhat repetitive… J.R.R. seemed to be obsessed with that particular story.)

    I have nerdgasms every time Stephen trots out his truly encyclopedic knowledge of Middle Earth.

  • lol

  • I did not know that. But my God, the Silmarillion, even I’ve never managed to read that.

  • theophrastvs

    James Franco has been growing on me.

    this can be cured with a topical cream

  • Kelly

    Stephen Colbert is a huge Tolkien fan — I have no doubt that he did that cold.

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