I taught James “Directing” at NYU the very first semester he was here. The first thing all NYU grad students do is they make a four minute black-and-white film. He came in and said his inspiration was the filmmaker Kenneth Anger. He’s an experimental filmmaker from the ’50s, ’60s, and a little bit in the ’70s. It happens that he’d also been one of my main inspirations, so we really clicked. He was a great student. It’s well known that James does a million things at a time. What he did as an NYU grad student was exceptional work, and he did it while he continued to do his acting and other film projects and art projects outside of school. The energy he has is astonishing. He has a lot he wants to do in his life, and he’s determined to do it. I think of James and Winona as bohemians who just incidentally happen to be movie stars.
— Director Jay Anania to Elle magazine on why she chose James Franco for The Letter.