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Michael Stipe signs on James Franco, Sam Taylor

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R.E.M lead vocalist Michael Stipe has invited actor James Franco and director Sam Taylor-Wood to create short films to accompany the highly anticipated new album 'Collapse Into Now'. Franco and Taylor-Wood have accepted his offer to direct clips inspired by different songs on the record for Stipe's Collapse Into Now Film Project.

In interview, Michael Stipe has admitted that he has given them "free rein" to do whatever they like with his tracks. "I went to people I really wanted to work with and I could trust them to do whatever they wanted. They had absolute free rein," the Daily Express quoted Stipe as saying.

"In many instances I was surprised, in many instances I got what I wanted. What I wanted wasn't primarily important though, what was important was to trust the directors with something as precious as a brand new song. It was really fun for me to curate, working with all these different artists, and seeing how they interpreted the songs. The thing that was surprising is how much they interlockingly work, like an album."

"It was a way of presenting the idea of an album in 2011, beyond a music fan's idea of an album 20 years ago. The way technology is right now, it's possible to present something in any way you want to. I basically wanted to explore the idea of what is an album, and how do we present it with everything that we have available," he added.

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