James Franco stars in an ambitious book trailer for Gary Shteyngart memoir

The trailer for Gary Shteyngart's memoir 'Little Failure' features James Franco and Rashida Jones.

Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS
James Franco stars as Gary Shteyngart’s husband.

Random House has recently released a humorous book trailer for Gary Shteyngart’s new memoir, “Little Failure.” Budgets for book marketing are usually limited. But this trailer is an ambitious production with a star-studded cast.

The video stars actors James Franco, Rashida Jones (of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”), Alex Karpovsky (of HBO’s "Girls"), and writers David Ebershoff and Jonathan Franzen.

Rashida Jones and David Ebershoff appear in the video as Random House editors, and they are the ones who receive the pitch for the memoir. Shteyngart suggests calling the new book "The Portrait of the Young Man as a Mensch" or "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Jewness." Jones and Ebershoff intervene and explain the idea of titling the book “Little Failure” instead, with a hint of witty self-deprecation.

Later in the video, James Franco appears in a pink robe as Shteyngart’s charismatic husband. Franco allegedly publishes an autobiography titled “Fifty Shades of Gary: An Erotic Journey,” which is far more successful than Shteyngart’s and that reveals details of Shteyngart’s private life.

In the book trailer, no one seems to be interested in “Little Failure,” including Shteyngart’s shrink. Jonathan Franzen plays the apathetic therapist. “‘Little Failure?’ More like ‘Little Narcissist,’” Franzen says. “I’m so sorry. Got to stop speaking the truth out loud.”

Franco also appeared in the trailer for Shteyngart's novel "Super Sad True Love Story," along with a number of well known authors.

Shteyngart told The Huffington Post, "I met [James Franco] at Columbia University... he was one of my students. You're not supposed to kiss your students but, I just couldn't help myself."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.