James Franco will be starring in a Ford commercial during the Super Bowl that promises to be “no ordinary commercial” — and for the steep fee that Ford had to pay to land both Franco and a Super Bowl XLVIII slot, the company better hope it’s no ordinary commercial.
The Ford ad also stars actor Rob Riggle and a tiger. Franco will be playing an alternative version of Riggle during the latter 60 seconds of the 90-second ad for the Ford Fusion; Riggle will play himself during the first 30 seconds. The commercial is set to air during the less-expensive slot between the coin toss and the kickoff of the game. Commercials airing during the game after kickoff sold for about $4 million per 30 seconds, according to Ad Age.
“This is no ordinary commercial. In fact, this has never been done before in the history of commercials,” Franco says while hanging out in a mansion with a tiger in the 15-second teaser for the ad.
Franco spoke about the commercial in an interview with Variety. “I know Super Bowl commercials are really big deals. Many are like mini-movies nowadays, with high production values and really good concepts. It sounded like it would be fun. … It had comedy in it, so it felt like there was enough self-awareness built in,” he said. “It’s actually kind of a fun and exciting place to work, because you get to do a lot of things that you can’t really do on a low-budget film and it’s not a huge time commitment.”
The actor is known for his bizarre project choices, from blockbusters to comedies to soap operas and indie films. Franco told Variety that he currently has two projects in the works, one with Seth Rogan called The Interview in which he plays a journalist who gets the chance to interview North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un and one directed by Werner Herzog and co-starring Nicole Kidman called Queen of the Desert.
Franco is just the latest addition to the star-studded ads that will air during Super Bowl XLVIII. Bob Dylan will be featured in two different spots during the game, with his 1966 song “I Want You” being used in a Chobani commercial and a rumored Chrysler ad that is said to feature the man himself.
Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowl ad for SodaStream was almost cut due to its antagonistic final line, “Sorry Coke and Pepsi.” The NFL demanded that the line be cut, as Pepsi is the sponsor of the event’s halftime show. Her affiliation with SodaStream has also ignited controversy over the Arab-Israeli conflict due to the location of SodaStream’s factories on the West Bank and Johansson’s affiliation with the aid organization Oxfam International.
On Thursday, a fake Super Bowl ad for Newcastle Brown Ale starring Anna Kendrick went viral. In the ad, Kendrick complains that Newcastle promised to pay her to make a Super Bowl commercial but that the plans didn’t pan out. “So, I’m back to doing indie stuff, which is great, but you can’t shove indie cred down a male stripper’s G string — you know what I’m saying?” she said of the alternate projects she’s had to take on after Newcastle bailed on making the commercial.
Other celebrities that are set to appear in Super Bowl ads include David Beckham, Ellen Degeneres, Stephen Colbert, Carmen Electra, and Ben Kingsley.
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