There is currently a war between James Franco and Houston slapstick rapper Riff Raff, also known as Jody Highroller. Riff Raff claims that James Franco’s character in “Spring Breakers,” a Harmony Korine film set to release March 22, is “obviously” based on him. In fact, Riff Raff even claims that Franco will win a Grammy because he shares his style. On the other end, it has been made public that the role is based on a dreadlocks rockin’ Florida rapper Dangeruss. In any case, while watching the trailer to “Spring Breakers,” it’s hard to deny how similar Franco looks to Riff Raff.
Here’s a loose timeline of the drama (or lack thereof):
March 28, 2012: Vibe released an article claiming that Korine originally reached out to Riff Raff to be in “Spring Breakers,” but Riff Raff was out of town. The role was then given to Franco, along with some style advice from Riff Raff.
March 29, 2012: TMZ posts a video with Franco filming for “Spring Breakers.” One of the TMZ staff members even says “That’s Riff Raff!” Note that Dangeruss is actually in this footage.
May 29, 2012: The connection with Riff Raff and James Franco was made long before the drama even started. In an interview with Fader, Riff Raff claimed that Riff Raff and James Franco are “all pretty much the same thing.”
Oct. 15, 2012: Sneeze Mag released their 17th issue with a cover of Riff Raff and Korine, along with an interview about “Spring Breakers,” where it is made clear that Franco’s character named Alien looks like Riff Raff, even though Franco has made claims that Alien “was inspired by a ‘panache’ of Southern rappers prior to RiFF entering Harmony’s world.”
Oct. 22, 2012: A collaboration with Jody Highroller (Riff Raff’s alter-ego), Mod Sun, Huey Mack and Mike Stud titled “NiGHTSTAND” was released. This contained the lyrics from Huey Mack as follows: “Shout out Riff Raff, no James Franco.” It’s already getting feisty before the “Spring Breakers” trailer is even released.
Jan. 8, 2013: Riff Raff releases a song and video titled “RAP GAME JAMES FRANCO” with no lyrics related to the actor. Perhaps as a statement that they are one and the same?
Jan. 18, 2013: “Spring Breakers” trailer is released. Franco’s character’s hairstyle is more braids than dreadlocks (e.g.Riff Raff) and he has an interesting Texas accent.
~Jan. 21, 2013: Riff Raff posts on Instagram (jodyhighroller) a picture comparing him and James Franco (in his role as Alien). It would be hard to deny the insane similarities.
Jan. 22, 2013: Riff Raff talks with Fuse about his influence on Franco’s role. Instead of acting bitter, Riff Raff is already imagining the money that will be made indirectly and offers Franco some style advice to improve his image as Riff Raff.
Feb. 5, 2013: Dangeruss, the rapper who Franco claims his role is based on, releases a music video directed by Franco himself titled ““Hangin With Da Dopeboys.” The footage was also shot by Franco during his “training” for the role.
Feb. 20, 2013: James Franco blogs on MTV about training for his “gangster” role. He opens with how he met Dangeruss through Korine and how he was his main inspiration for the role.
Feb. 27, 2013: Riff Raff sent out an email to various publications, such as Complex and Spin, titled “More Lies From Franco?”
March 7, 2013: Riff Raff releases “Hologram Benz,” which samples Flux Pavilion’s “Cracks.” It contains the lyrics “Me and Harmony Korine in a hologram Benz. Riff Raff is also holding the Sneeze Mag that has him and Korine on the cover.
March 18, 2013: In an interview with Esquire, Riff Raff says he’s in the movie and that everyone should use their eyes and watch for him in the film.
March 22, 2013: “Spring Breakers” release date
Let’s get real, even if the character isn’t a perfect Riff Raff clone, you’d be stupid to not notice the influence. You could argue that it’s just coincidence, but the interviews with Korine basically kill that feeling. The most interesting part is Riff Raff’s behavior. He is basically promoting the film. Could this be an inside job the whole time, with Riff Raff and Franco laughing at us while sharing a beer? At the end of the day, the only people who know the truth are Korine, Franco, and possibly Riff Raff.