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Edited by on February 8 2012 at 8:31 AM

Renaissance man — the 21st century Renaissance has decidedly lower standards — James Franco stepped behind the camera to film 10 vignettes for Seven for All Mankind‘s spring campaign, starring Lily Donaldson and a host of other dubiously multi-hyphenated artist-actor-models. 

James Franco Directed 7 for All Mankinds Spring Campaign

Franco’s first of his “Episodes of an Untitled Film” will debut on February 15 on Seven’s YouTube channel with a new episode premiering every week. The aforementioned “Untitled Film” is actually titled The Death of Natalie Wood, an extended three-hour version of which will be played as part of “Rebel,” an art installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Inspired by Rebel without a Cause starring Wood and James Dean, “Rebel” also features work from Ed Ruscha, Paul McCarthy, Damon McCarthy, Aaron Young and Harmony Korine.

Franco’s interest cum obsession with James Dean is akin to Linday Lohan‘s obsession cum super-obsession with Marilyn Monroe, only to a more successful — and a more clothed — degree. You may remember that post-Freaks and Geeks Franco played Dean in a made-for-TV movie and later directed a biographical movie on Sal Mineo, Dean’s tragic sidekick in the 1955 classic. “Part of me wanted to fill it out and do a tribute to Natalie Wood, as well,” Franco said in reference to the untitled film’s title.

James Franco Directed 7 for All Mankinds Spring Campaign

As for his collaboration with Seven, Franco had this to say about it: “The videos have a vintage feel to them. They feel like they are from a different era, which I think really fits with the new line that Seven had in the shoot — a lot of cool denim tops and jeans…The look of the film and the clothes feels very Seventies. We shot right on the beach and drove up the PCH [Pacific Coast Highway], so I guess you could say it’s a vintage 1970’s California dreamy feel. The movies that I cut together have a lot of weird double exposures and super- imposed images over other images, so it’s a real, I guess you could say, trip.”

The film features a cast of models/actors/artists/musicians I’ve never heard of — as well as a cameo by Franco himself — while Lily Donaldson takes center stage in the print campaign (above). And while he’s no stranger to modeling as the broodingly handsome face of Gucci for the past few seasons, Jimmy Francs is also in talks to move behind the camera to direct something for the Italian house. [WWD]

Check out a behind-the-scenes look at James Franco’s Seven for All Mankind film below:

Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at fashionindie.com