Thursday, July 6, 2017

James Franco is a Ladies Man

James Franco recently sat down for an interview with W Magazine ahead of the debut of his new HBO show The Deuce. Here are some highlights from his interview:

When did you know you were going to be an actor?
I started acting my senior year in high school. I had loved movies since as long as I can remember. Then finally my senior year, I started acting. And I had a girlfriend in the drama program, and she had been asked to do a one-act by this guy. And he had written this one-act and was directing and starring in it. It was this romantic piece, and they were gonna make out in it. And I got really jealous, and I begged her not to do it. But she did it anyway, as she should have. I realize in hindsight that I was jealous probably more because he had constructed this whole thing and he'd written it and directed it and was acting in it—it was, like, all the things that I wanted to do. And so as my revenge, I decided that I would join the drama class. I got the leads in the last two plays that year.

Then I hadn't applied to any drama schools 'cause I was too late, and so I wasn't in the theater program at UCLA. But I was in L.A., and there was, like, a guy in my dorm that was on the show Cybill, with Cybill Shepherd. It was just all around me, and I was like, "Well, I, I need to do this now." So I dropped out of school. My parents wouldn't support me anymore. So I worked at McDonald's for two or three months.

Oh, wow. You wore the uniform.
Oh, yeah. I got a couple dates from the drive-thru window. [Laughter.]Tthen I got a Pizza Hut commercial, and then not long after that I did Freaks and Geeks. So it all worked out.

I can't believe you worked at McDonald's. How did you get dates from the drive-thru?
Well, they didn't go so well. I was in acting class, and I would practice different accents in the drive-thru, like really bad accents. But people believed me. So I'd be like [in terrible Italian-American accent] "Hey, welcome to McDonald's. May I help you?" You know, like, that bad.

And I'd always know that they were interested 'cause they'd come back around. So, you know, a young lady would be like, "Oh, I forgot the, uh, strawberry milkshake."She'd come back and she'd be like, "Well, I'm trying to learn Italian. Maybe you could give me some Italian lessons." I'd go [in accent], "Yeah, yeah, sure." But then there were a couple, I guess, with my Irish accent or, like, my Brooklyn accent—those I could go out on dates with. You know, we went to see Titanic, and I had to keep it up. You know, so like [in equally bad Brooklyn accent], "Whoa, Leonardo. Wow, he was amazing. Yo, oh."

Then I always had to break it to 'em, 'cause they'd call me, and it was before cell phones. So I'd pick up the phone, I didn't know who it was. And I'd be like [in regular voice], "Hello?"

And they'd be like, "James, is that you? What happened to your accent?" It was always the worst, as if I was this huge imposter. I just saw this play, Dear Evan Hansen. It was sort of like that. Like, I had to come clean: "Hey, I'm not from Brooklyn. I'm from Palo Alto." And they just look at me like I'm a complete stranger. And it usually ended right there.

...You weren't nervous about directing yourself?

I directed myself in a lot of projects.

I know, but it's hard to do twins as an actor.

It is. Well, so then I had to prove myself. I directed the third episode—it turns out that that was the episode with the most twin scenes of all.

This is what I love about you. You always have to make things more complicated.
I know.

Has that just always been your DNA?

Lynn, I'm insane. I'm insane. That's why; that's what happened. Who would want to not only direct themselves, but direct themselves in two roles? Like, that's insane. But it did go well.

Read the full interview at W Magazine.

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