James Franco dissects the Oscars: 'Me in drag is not funny'

Jul 11, 2011 at 4:37 p.m. ET

James Franco is opening up about his non-Oscar worthy performance as host of the prestigious award show for the first time, confessing that one specific skit he tried to ruin on purpose.

James Franco's night as co-host of the Oscars is finely dissected in the latest issue of Playboy. Hear from the actor's own words just what went wrong on a night filled with so much promise.

James Franco as Marilyn Monroe at the Oscars

"It's hard to talk about because it's like assigning blame -- not a fun thing to do. For three or four weeks we shot the promos and the little film that played in the opening," James Franco says, reflecting back on Oscar night. "In the last week, when we really started focusing on the script for the live show and did a run-through, I said to the producer, 'I don't know why you hired me, because you haven't given me anything. I just don't think this stuff's going to be good.'"

James Franco was most unhappy about having to dress up in a Marilyn Monroe outfit for a bit onstage next to co-host Anne Hathaway. If he'd had his way the bad idea would have turned into a total mess by a timely slip of the heels.

"I was so pissed about that I was deliberately going to fall onstage and hopefully my dress would fall off or something -- they couldn't blame that on me; I was in high heels," James Franco says. "The plan had been that I was going to sing as Cher and then Cher was going to come out onstage; that got axed when Cher and the song from Burlesque weren't nominated. I told them, 'Look, this is the thing people are going to talk about, the images they will take away from the show.'"

"I just didn't want to fight anymore, even when they said, 'You'll come out as Marilyn Monroe. It'll be funny.' Me in drag is not funny," Franco continues. "Me in drag as Cher trying to sing like her is a thing. That didn't happen, so then I just didn't want to argue anymore."

As for what many described as a lackluster performance, James explains his approach was meant to counterbalance Anne Hathaway's high energy. "I thought, 'Okay, Anne is going the enthusiastic route. I've been trained as an actor to respond to circumstances, to the people I'm working with, and not force anything.' So I thought I would be the straight man and she could be the other, and that's how I was trying to do those lines. I felt kind of trapped in that material. I felt, this is not my boat. I'm just a passenger, but I'm going down and there's no way out."

What do you think of James Franco's Oscar night explanation?