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James Franco
Also known as: James Edward Franco
Actor • Director • Voice Cast • Producer
Born: April 19, 1978 in Palo Alto, California, United States Of America
James Edward Franco is an American director, filmmaker and actor. He is best known for his lead roles in the biopic film 127 Hours (2010), James Dean (2001), the fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) and the dramatic action film Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Franco is also known for his comedic performances in the hit movies Pineapple Express (2008), Spring Breakers (2012) and for his character as Harry Osborn in the much loved Spiderman Trilogy (2002-2007). Apart from his on screen portrayals, he has also appeared in a Broadway play Of Mice and Men (2014).

Early Life
Franco is the son of writer Betsy Lou and business owner Douglas Eugene Franco. Born on April 19th, 1978 in Palo Alto California, Franco grew up with his two brothers, Tom and Dave. His family upbringing was academic, liberal and largely secular with Franco being nicknamed a "math whiz".

After finishing his schooling in Palo Alto High School, he joined the CSSSA to study theatre. Franco often jokes that during his school years he was rebellious and was arrested (on a few occasions) for underage drinking, graffiti and stealing designer perfumes from department stores.

Franco always dreamt of being an actor but the fear of rejection led to his enrollment at the University of California, Los Angeles as an English Major. Shortly after, he dropped out of the University, choosing instead to undertake acting lessons at the Playhouse West with Robert Carnegie. The decision was against his parent`s wishes so in order to support himself. Franco worked late night shifts at McDonalds, practicing accents on customers to motivate himself.

Personal Life
Franco dated Marla Sokoloff, a co-star from Whatever it Takes, for five years. After the breakup, he was briefly involved with actress Ahna O`Reilly until their separation in 2011. In an interview with Playboy magazine Franco has stated that his avid interest in education has affected his relationships adversely.

Despite his secular upbringing, Franco has identified with the Jewish faith and believes that religion is a source of community. In 2015, he held an official Bar Mitzvah ceremony for himself officiated by a rabbi.

Movie Career
Franco first appeared on the big screen as the lead in the biopic James Dean (2001) directed by Mark Rydell. In order to immerse himself in the character, he paid great attention to detail, from smoking two packs of cigarettes a day to learning to ride a motorcycle, bleaching his hair blond and even learning to play the guitar, Franco did everything to perfect his art. The film was a success and Franco`s performance was highly praised, leading to the win of a Golden Globe Award and nominations for a Screen Actors Guild and Emmy Award. His next project, the superhero movie Spider Man (2002) catapulted him to international fame and recognition. Franco played the role of Harry Osborn, the lead character`s estranged best friend and son of the villain, The Green Goblin. Spiderman was a worldwide box office hit and spawned a cult following.

Franco went on to star in Sonny (2012), City by the Sea (2002) and the ballet film The Company (2003), neither of which received much commercial or critical success. In 2004 however, he returned to the cast of Spider-man to perform in its sequel. Spider-man 2 became the highest grossing film of 2004 and boosted Franco`s international image on its release. In 2004, Franco directed and appeared in the film The Ape, followed by The Great Raid (2005) a war film taking place during the end of World War 2. During this time, Franco discovered a penchant for historical films and went on to star in Tristan and Isolde (2006) based on the romantic French legend of Tristan and Isolde. The film received mostly negative reviews. It proved to be a busy year as he then appeared in Annapolis, a boxing film, Flyboy, the horror flick The Wicker Man and a cameo in the comedy The Holiday.

Franco reprised his role of Harry Osborn in Spider-man 3 (2007). It was the highest grossing film in the trilogy despite the lukewarm critical response. Deviating from main stream media, Franco co-starred alongside Sienna Miller in Camille (2007), an independent, low budget dark comedy film. In 2008, Franco`s comedic talents broke through. He was cast alongside Seth Rogen in Pineapple Express, a comedy produced by Judd Apatow. Franco`s portrayal of a goofy marijuana dealer earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. He also received High Times magazine`s Stoner of The Year Award for his performance.

He further increased his accolades by essaying into the role of Scott Smith in the high profile film Milk (2008). His performance as Harvey Milks boyfriend who grows tired of his political life won him the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor. 2010 saw Franco`s return to comedy with the commercially successful Date Night. He continued his work with the romance Eat, Pray, Love and the dramatic film Howl which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.

The next year saw Franco in one of the biggest projects of his career. Starring in 127 Hours (2011) directed by Danny Boyle, Franco portrayed the gripping experiences of mountain climber Aron Ralston who struggles to survive after his hand is trapped under a boulder in a ravine. The movie was a huge commercial success and was critically lauded internationally. He earned his first nomination for an Academy Award as well as nominations for another Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award. Franco was also the recipient of an Independent Spirit Award. He has stated in numerous interviews that the making of the movie was a lifetime experience.

In 2011, Franco starred in the medieval comedy Your Highness, the action thriller Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and The Letter and About Cherry. He also performed in Disney`s big budget fantasy movie Oz: the Great and Powerful as the titular character. The film received mixed reviews. 2013 saw Franco in This is the End starring alongside many other comic actors such as Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill and Danny Bcbride. It was commercially successful and received praise for its slapstick humor. Franco`s other project Child of God (2012) featuring his own direction and acting was selected for the prestigious 51st New York Film Festival and competed in the 70th Venice Film Festival.

Harmony Korine`s Spring breakers (2013) starred Franco as the gangster `Alien`. His comic performance was highly praised and a campaign was started supporting Franco`s claim for an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His 2016 releases include King Cobra, Why Him? and Goat. His 2017 releases include The Labyrinth, Alien: Covenant and Don`t Come Back from the Moon. His other releases include The Pretenders (2018), Zeroville (2019), Arctic Dogs (2019) and Kin (2020).

T.V Career
Franco began his acting career as the lead character Daniel Desario on the television program Freaks and Geeks. He has also starred in The General Hospital (2007-20012), as well as hosted the late night comedy show Saturday Night Live on three occasions, 2008, 2009 and 2014. The 81st Academy Awards featured Franco co-hosting the ceremony alongside Anne Hathaway. His performance was critically panned and received negative attention in international media.

Peers & More
Seth Rogen
Jonah Hill
Channing Tatum
Anne Hathaway
Betsy Franco
Douglas Eugene Franco
Dave Franco
Tom Franco
Popular Movies
View All
Spider-Man Series
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The Disaster Artist
Alien: Covenant
Why Him?
King Cobra
In Dubious Battle
Sausage Party

Did You Know? (7)

  • Franco auditioned for the character of Peter Parker in Spiderman (2002) but was given the part of Harry Osborn. The role of Peter Parker was given to his co-star Tobey Maguire.
  • He enjoys painting and has even held an exhibition of his work in New York City.
  • Franco has interned at Lockheed Martin, the American aerospace, defense, security and advanced technology company. He is a talented mathematician.
  • Franco enjoys reading books between breaks on movie sets. He read The Illiad during the making of The Pineapple Express to the amusement of his co-stars.
  • Although Franco hates smoking, he smoked two packs a day in order to prepare himself to act as James Dean in the biopic of the same name.
  • He was a professed vegetarian until he began to work at the fast food restaurant McDonalds in order to support his acting career.
  • Emilia Clarke was cast opposite James Franco for the movie Garden of Lost Days. However, the movie was shelved two weeks prior the production began.
  • Personal Quotes (21)

  • "Create your world around your work. Create your work around your life. Let other people help you shape it."
  • "I used to care about how I looked. Now I don't care as much. Maybe it's because I'm so handsome."
  • "There is no relationship that I find that's closer than a creative relationship."
  • "They say that living is the best revenge, but sometimes writing well is even better."
  • "Dreams and expectations also have the very dark flipside of disappointment, broken dreams."
  • "When we were doing 'Freaks and Geeks', I didn't quite understand how movies and TV worked, and I would improvise even if the camera wasn't on me. I thought I was helping the other actors by keeping them on their toes, but nobody appreciated it when I would trip them up. So I was improvising a little bit back then, but not in a productive way."
  • "I view filmmaking as a director's medium."
  • "My job is what I love. I don't need an escape from it."
  • "I might have to stumble a little bit more in public than others, but that's fine, I don't mind, I've developed a thick skin."
  • "I'm going to try to not let anyone put me in a box, and that certainly applies to the things I do outside of acting."
  • "I'm starting to teach now: I teach in the graduate film program at NYU and next year I'm going to be teaching at Los Angeles at the film program and English program at UCLA. I don't even like to sleep - I feel as if there's too much to do."
  • "I am not going to be the guy who's not pulling his weight."
  • "I love to bring humour into my work. Because comedy is not a huge part of the art world. And big-business film takes itself very seriously."
  • "I needed an outlet in high school and came across painting. I've actually been painting longer than I've been acting. A movie is a collaborative effort, and with painting you just have yourself."
  • "I was kind of scared of failing at acting."
  • "Acting is an art form and you want to take roles that are challenged and it's more of a challenge I think to play dark characters. Not that I want to always play those, but it is a challenge and challenges are rewarding and fun."
  • "When I was starting out, doing guest spots on TV, and even commercials, I would go in with a whole crazy wardrobe and some terrible accent. Obviously, I was doing too much. If you bring too much flavor to it, it's absurd. There's something to just being spontaneous."
  • "There's a tendency, when you're directing yourself, not to give the performance as much care, because you feel like there's too much focus on yourself, or that all these people are just standing around setting everything up, waiting for you."
  • "You work really hard to make it, and maybe you get some acclaim, but then you realize there are certain limitations as an actor."
  • "There's a tacit belief that actors shouldn't write books, they're sort of allowed to direct movies but there will be a lot of skepticism, and they shouldn't do artwork or music. There are these invisible roadblocks to gain entree to these areas for actors, and you kind of have to crash through those invisible barriers."
  • "When I sign on for a project, I'm there to give the director all the material he or she might need to tell their story, and that's the number one priority."
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