It’s been two hours since Frank’s LAX flight to Tokyo took off, and seven since he dropped the biggest album of the year.
Agonising over a transition in ‘White Ferrari’ (he has 50 versions of the song) but fully aware it’s too late to do anything about it, he closes Logic and stows his Macbook in favour of bottom shelf whiskey in an impossibly cold in-flight glass and When Harry Met Sally. He gets talking to a guy in the first class booth opposite him, who, in a hotel bar in three days' time and hurt, will ask Frank why he wasn’t truthful about who he was when they first met. Frank will respond with the most insightful monologue on loneliness and lionisation in film in 2016.
This is roughly how I imagine a biopic about Frank Ocean and his seclusion will open, after reading the one and only interview he has given since Blonde and Endless in The New York Times this week.
In it, Frank described his mood after the release of the long-awaited album(s) as “postpartum”, and we learned that ‘rather than going on a promotional tour, playing radio festivals and making the usual rounds, he spent about a month traveling: “China, Japan, Oceania, France, just around. Casual.”’
Casual. No signings. No Instagrams. Just long nights spent as incognito as is possible in air-conditioned hotel rooms and in dive bars with strangers.
He said that he is “super-envious” of Daft Punk being able to wear robot helmets and be one of the most famous bands in the world, but understands “that will never be my situation. It’s too late. It’s hard to articulate how I think about myself as a public figure.” This unease with his own celebrity would be central to the film - a kind-of road trip/air trip drama - Frank walking past vast TV screens in Tokyo reporting his album is iTunes no. 1 worldwide and teenagers queuing in the rain for a Blonde zine at one of his pop-up stores. Disorientated, he would retire to a zen garden for a two-hander scene with a Buddhist monk in which they muse about the nature of the self. An Uber rolls past and someone yells out the window: “Frank, where the album?” (this actually happened).
I kind of imagine it falling somewhere between David Foster Wallace biopic The End of the Tour and Lost In Translation - Sofia Coppola could direct in fact, although, being the omnitalent that he is, Frank would probably want to; on how he will use his creativity in future, he added to the NYT: “It’s more interesting for me to figure out how to be superior in areas where I’m naïve, where I’m a novice.”
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