James Franco

James Franco

His role as Daniel on NBC's Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)


“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.” James

With his youthful, dark, good looks and wiry athletic build, television and film
actor James Franco is a perfect choice to play rebellious burnouts and sports’
heroes. The up and coming actor gained praise after portraying the screen legend
and rebellious James Dean in the TNT film of the same name in 2001, in which he
was handed a Golden Globe award, a Broadcast Film Critics Association award and
earned nominations at the Emmys and Screen Actors Guild. He is also
well-remembered to TV audiences as nihilistic freak Daniel in the NBC series
“Freaks and Geeks” (1999-2000).

On the wide screen, Franco is known for playing roles in such tremendous
features as Never Been Kissed (1999), the blockbuster hit Spider Man (2002) and
its 2004 installment Spider-Man 2, Nicolas Cage’s directorial debut Sonny
(2002), Robert De Niro’s City by the Sea (2002) and The Company (2003). On more
recent films, he was seen in The Great Raid (2005), Fool’s Gold (2005), The Ape
(2005), Annapolis (2006) and Tristan and Isolde (2006). Fans should not miss his
performance in the upcoming Good Time Max (2006), Tony Bill’s Flyboys (2006),
Spider-Man 3 (2007) and the drama-mystery The Dead Girl (2007).

James Franco was listed as one of People Magazine’s “50 Hottest Bachelors”
(2004) and paid 2,000,000 for The Company (2003). The founder of a production
company called Rabbit Bandini Productions, Franco is also a painter. Trained in
a private painting school during his teen years, he has showcased his works in
art galleries in and around Los Angeles.

“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.” James Franco

As for his romantic life, the handsome actor is linked to actress Marla Sokoloff,
whom he met on the set of Whatever It Takes (2000).


Childhood and Family:

On April 19, 1978, James Edward Franco was born in Palo Alto, California. His
father is Doug Franco and his mother is Betsy Levine Verne, a Jewish American
author, editor and poet. James’ maternal grandmother is the owner of a famed art
gallery called the Verne Art Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio.

Along with his younger brothers Tom and David, James, whose nicknames are Ted
and Teddy, graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1996. While there, he was
voted “Best Smile” by his senior class. After high school graduation, he
attended the University of California in Los Angeles, and studied acting as a
means to overcome his shyness. Much to the disappointment of his parents, James
quit school one year later and decided to pursue a career in acting. He studied
acting intensely with Tony Savant, Jeff Goldblum and Robert Carnegie and spent
fifteen-months training at the Playhouse West in North Hollywood.

Freaks and Geeks


A drop-out student from UCLA, James Franco began actively pursuing an onscreen
career in Hollywood following a 15-month intensive training course at Robert
Carnegie’s Playhouse West. Making his first TV appearance in an episode of
“Pacific Blue” (1997), Franco was then seen in the miniseries “To Serve and
Protect” (1999), a crime-thriller directed by Jean de Segonzac and starring
Craig T. Nelson and Amanda Detmer. After a guest role in NBC’s “Profiler,” the
young actor made his big screen debut with a small role, as Jason Way, in the
Drew Barrymore teen comedy vehicle Never Been Kissed (1999).

However, it was the NBC series “Freaks and Geeks” (1999-2000) that landed Franco
a breakthrough starring role as dark and pessimistic Daniel, opposite Linda
Cardellini. Although the show was axed after its first year and was not a hit to
its intended audiences, Freaks and Geeks has become a cult-hit.

Entering the new millennium, Franco continued to separate his time between
television and film. He starred as Devin in If Tomorrow Comes (2000) and
costarred with Shane West, his then-girlfriend Marla Sokoloff, and Jodi Lyn
O’Keefe in Whatever It Takes (2000), an updated version of Edmond Rostand’s
“Cyrano de Bergerac.” In the romantic/comedy film, Franco portrayed well-liked
jock Chris Campbell. He was also seen as a drug-addled musician in the
made-for-television movie At Any Cost (2000) and made a one-episode appearance
as officer #2 in “The X Files” (2001).

After a cameo role in the film Some Body (2001), Franco’s big break arrived when
he was cast as the titular legend in director Mark Rydell’s biographical TV film
James Dean (2001). For his impressive portrayal of the screen-legend heartthrob,
Franco won a great deal of praise. He further confirmed the success in 2002 by
winning such awards as a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor and a
Broadcast Film Critics Association for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion
Picture Made for Television, as well as receiving an Emmy and a Screen Actors
Guild nomination.

The award-winning performance subsequently rocketed Franco’s film career. In
2002 alone, he had six different projects. He was first cast as Harry Osborn,
opposite Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, in the box office hit Spider Man, and
then appeared in a ‘50s-style mob drama, Deuces Wild. Next up, he was featured
in You Always Stalk the Ones You Love (2002) and Mother Ghost (2002), and
starred with Morgan H. Margolis in director-writer Stephan Woloszczuk’s Blind
Spot (2002) before undertaking the title role of a former gigolo in Sonny
(2002), for director Nicholas Cage. His outstanding acting in James Dean also
won Franco his most dramatically-challenging role to date, playing a murder
suspect who turns out to be the son of an NYPD police detective (Robert De Niro)
in City by the Sea (2002).

2003 saw roles in Mean People Suck, The Car Kid, and The Company, as Neve
Campbell’s boyfriend. He returned to the Spider Man franchise in the following
year, where he reprised his Harry Osborn role, the best friend and romantic
rival to Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker, as well as the son of the wicked Green
Goblin (Willem DeFoe). He added the WWII drama The Great Raid, the 2002
produced-film Fool’s Gold, and The Ape (all in 2005) to his impressive acting

Recently, the Californian actor starred opposite Tyrese Gibson in Annapolis
(2006) and portrayed the legendary hero, alongside British actress Sophia Myles,
in Tristan and Isolde (2006). Franco will soon team with writer Merriwether
Williams for the drama Good Time Max (2006) and play the supporting role of
Rawlings in Tony Bill’s Flyboys (2006). He is also set to reprise his role for
the third sequel Spider-Man 3, which is scheduled for release on May 4, 2007,
and play a role in the drama-mystery The Dead Girl (2007).


Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Actor in a Picture Made for
Television, James Dean, 2002
Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion
Picture Made for Television, James Dean, 2002
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.More James Franco quotes [09/06/2011 06:09:13]
When I was younger, I thought, 'Ok, I'm supposed to do this project because it'll help my career,' but that didn't work because I ended up doing movies that I worked really hard on but I didn't really like and they didn't turn out well, so it was like I lost double. Once I just started working with people and projects I believed in, everything changed and I suddenly had a career that I loved and that I was proud of.More James Franco quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I was supposed to go out with this girl, but the plans mixed up because I was working late. So I went to her apartment with a flower. She was asleep, but I really wanted to see her. I figured I'd be like Romeo, and climbed up to her balcony and gave her a rose. She was very shocked. After that, it was over.More James Franco quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I was an English major at UCLA when I was 18, and then I left after a year to start acting. I was educating myself during that time.More James Franco quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I worked the drive-through at McDonald's and tried out different accents - Italian, Russian, Irish.More James Franco quotes [09/06/2011 06:09:19]

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