For a few years, James Franco was everywhere: Hosting the Oscars. Getting college degrees. Teaching college courses. Directing movies. Acting in movies. Writing about movies. Making art. Writing novels. Starting a band. Every now and then, he would penetrate the mainstream, with commercial releases like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “The Interview.” By and large, however, the affable face from “Freaks and Geeks,” Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” movies, and “127 Hrs” had grown so ubiquitous it had become difficult to discern the big picture.