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BERLIN (Reuters) - Wim Wenders says not enough films are about healing, so for his "Every Thing Will Be Fine" at the Berlin film festival he got James Franco to play a writer who runs over a child and has to deal with the emotional trauma.
The veteran German director of "Paris, Texas" said he filmed his latest muted and somber film in 3D because it allowed him visually to explore the depths of his characters, including Franco as the successful novelist Tomas, who accidentally kills a boy whose sled careens into the street.
"Truly the issue of death was not for me the governing theme of the film. The opposite. For me, the main subject of the film was healing and how to deal with it," Wenders, 69, told a news conference on Tuesday.
"Not enough films deal with healing, most films deal with wounding. And it's time to take on this subject of how you forgive and how you forgive yourself because it is not time that heals, that's a lie, you have to do something."
Franco, appearing in three films at the festival, said it had not been a challenge to switch gears after starring in Seth Rogen's comedy "The Interview", that incurred the wrath of North Korea because it is about a plot to kill its leader Kim Jong-un.
"I did this movie at least six months after we finished filming 'The Interview'," he said.
"I like to bring myself to the movie rather than have the movie or the character bring itself to me, meaning I want to fit the tone of the film. I want to help the director achieve his or her vision," Franco said.
Another of Franco's festival films is also by a German director, Werner Herzog, whose "Queen of the Desert" stars Nicole Kidman as the British female "Lawrence of Arabia" spy and diplomat Gertrude Bell in the early 19th century.
Franco said he thought Herzog, who has a reputation as a demanding director, was in a mellow mood making his first feature centered on a female character.
"Werner's still kind of in there, he makes a point of clacking the slate and he's just always there ... Wim is connected in his own way to the same degree, but it comes off as a little more gentle," Franco said.
Wenders's film also stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as the mother of the dead boy and Robert Naylor as the boy's grown-up brother.
(This version of the story fixes director's name in third para)
Editing by Crispian Balmer