James Franco will reprise the role of artist-slash-murderer Robert "Franco" Frank on General Hospital. According to a published report, this time Franco -- both the actor and the character -- will be sticking around for an extended period of time. Franco, however, refutes claims that his return will take place in September.
"Franco's upcoming story arc is being called 'long-term,' meaning we'll see him well into the fall and possibly beyond," TVGuide's Michael Logan reported in breaking the news of Franco's return.
The TVGuide article stated that Franco would first air on September 20, but during a publicity tour for his new movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Franco revealed he hasn't filmed any GH scenes -- and isn't sure when he will because he's busy with another project at the moment.
"I don't know if they like think I'm going to fly out on a weekend and shoot something, but I don't see it fitting into my schedule anytime soon," Franco told Access Hollywood. "I'll go back, but they said like September 20 or something I have no idea what they're talking about."
There are, however, whispers that Franco is playing coy at the behest of ABC, which didn't want word of the actor's return to GH released.
In addition to promoting Apes, Franco has been filming a movie about the Wizard of Oz in Detroit.
Franco raised eyebrows in October 2009 when he announced that he'd be appearing on General Hospital as part of a research project for a new film.
A daytime return isn't the only gig in Franco's future. A notorious multi-tasker, Franco will also be appearing on Broadway and in the classroom.
As previously reported, Franco will appear onstage with Nicole Kidman in a revival of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth this fall. No dates, additional casting, or theater have been announced.
In addition to his acting ventures, the actor is working to complete a Ph.D. at Yale, and will also embark upon a quest to earn his second Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston next year.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a prequel to the 1968 Planet of the Apes. In the film, Franco plays a scientist testing Alzheimer's cures on laboratory apes. The cures ultimately cause rapid intellectual evolution in the apes. The movie opens on August 5.
How will Franco tend to all of his proverbial irons in the fire? During his previous runs on General Hospital, Franco taped several weeks' worth of episodes in just a few days. The intensive pre-taping required Franco to show up for work on just a handful of days, yet appear on-screen for more than two months.
Franco's latest reign of terror may or may not begin on September 20.