If one were to ask someone outside of the American literature community who Harold Hart Crane was, many would not be able to give an answer. Crane is a modernist poet who wrote during the 1920s and 1930s and is largely overlooked or forgotten. Crane is not the most popular modernist poet by any means, but many who read Crane extensively become loyal devotees. Even though it may come as a surprise, one of Crane’s ardent readers is the famous actor James Franco. Franco is a skilled actor and has starred in movies such as, 127 Hours, This is the End, Spider-Man and many others.
Franco’s interest in Crane is shown through his creation of the film The Broken Tower, which surrounds Crane’s life and suicide. Franco created the film as his Masters thesis for his MFA in filmmaking from New York University. Franco plays the main role in the film that depicts the life of the young suicidal poet. The film is based off of Crane’s most notable long poem, The Bridge. When asked where his interest in Crane began, Franco explains: “I was doing a movie in New Orleans and I think I was reading a lot of Harold Bloom, because I had dropped out of school I was, like Crane maybe, just putting together my own reading list; one writer would lead me to another. Bloom had talked about Crane in one of his books and so that led me to Crane.” Franco was inspired to create a film that was similar to Crane’s poetry, and set out to create The Broken Tower. A short excerpt from The Broken Tower is linked below and includes Franco as Hart Crane reading from the first poem of The Bridge called To Brooklyn Bridge.