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James Franco on 'Your Highness': Action, dirty humor and perverts, what's not to like?

February 14, 2011 |  8:00 am

Your Highness 
You’d think a movie starring two of this year’s Oscar nominees would be generating a little more excitement than the buzz currently surrounding the medieval stoner-fantasy-comedy “Your Highness.” But then, James Franco and Natalie Portman worked on director David Gordon Green’s offbeat movie two years and a couple of release dates ago. Universal Pictures will finally put it in theaters April 8.

“I don’t know what the discussions or the politics were, but it seemed hard for the studio to understand it,” Franco says. “It has great action, but then it has really dirty humor. But it’s not ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ kind of humor. It’s not a parody or a spoof of medieval movies. It’s got great British actors and then it’s got me and Danny McBride. It’s a strange mix.”

Franco and McBride, who worked with Green on the hit “Pineapple Express,” play brothers forced to go on a quest to save their father’s kingdom. Portman co-stars as a warrior princess who becomes the object of McBride’s fancy.

With a cast that also includes Zooey Deschanel and a sizable budget (Green, at South by Southwest last year, called it “by far the most expensive movie, by about double” of anything he’s done), the effects-laden “Your Highness” seems oddly off the radar right now. Perhaps that’s understandable, given how Franco describes his favorite moment from the shoot.

“I do a scene with a weird puppet that’s a bit like the witch in ‘The Dark Crystal,'” Franco says, referring to the 1982 Jim Henson/Frank Oz puppet fantasy. “Only in our movie, she’s a pervert. Come to think of it, I think every character in our movie’s a pervert. Maybe that’s why no one has seen it yet.”

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: James Franco, left, and Danny McBride in "Your Highness." Credit: Universal Pictures