James Franco Sports Shaved Head With Liz Taylor-Montgomery Clift Tattoo for New Role

The multi-hyphenate accepts a visionary filmmaker award at the Venice Film Festival and turns the event into a shoot for his new movie

James Franco at Venice Film Festival with head tattoo
Getty Images/Instagram

James Franco was honored with a prestigious filmmaker’s award at the Venice Film Festival and he accepted the prize with a freshly shaved head sporting a tattoo of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift on his skull.

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The multi-hyphenate attended Friday’s event to receive an innovators award called the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory and premiere his latest William Faulkner adaptation “The Sound and the Fury.” But Franco also used the picturesque red carpet ceremony leading up to the event to shoot a scene for his new film “Zeroville.”

Franco plays a socially challenged man named Ike “Vikar” Jerome in “Zeroville,” which is being adapted from a 2007 Steve Erickson novel. The new part required him to shave his head, attach a funny mustache and have a (hopefully temporary) tattoo inked onto the back of his head. The movie is about a man obsessed with Hollywood, so it’s fitting the character’s tattoo depicts a Clift and Taylor scene from their 1951 movie “A Place in the Sun.”

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Getting in character was a time-consuming process for 36-year-old Franco, who posted pictures on Instagram documenting the transformation. He first flaunted his freshly shaved head Wednesday, added in a picture with his mustache Thursday and finally showed off his skull tattoo in a picture posted Friday. The caption read “Zeroville coming soon.”

Each year the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory award is given to an individual who makes “an original contribution to innovation in contemporary cinema.” Past recipients include Spike Lee, Takeshi Kitano and Sylvester Stallone.