Here at the James Franco Fan Club – er, Flavorpill – we dropped everything when we heard The Advocate had posted its October cover profile of the actor online. It’s a lengthy piece to read on your computer screen, but we highly recommend checking out Benoit Denizet-Lewis’s investigation into why Franco plays so many gay characters, how he manages to do a superhuman amount of work, and what bizarre crime got him arrested as a teenager. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing but still want your Franco facts fix, we’ve listed the top 10 things we learned from the article after the jump.
1. James Franco is not gay: “Everyone thinks I’m a stoner, and some people think I’m gay because I’ve played these gay roles. That’s what people think, but it’s not true. I don’t smoke pot. I’m not gay.”
2. James Franco does not smoke pot. (See above) Actually, we find this harder to believe than that he’s straight.
3. James Franco’s favorite movie is My Own Private Idaho: “I’ve loved that movie since before I was an actor, when I was in high school. I suppose the aesthetics struck me. I loved the makeshift family, the idea that people could come together and survive. I loved the clothes. And I am sure the performances were what I was mostly drawn to, especially River’s. He’s vulnerable, quirky, cool, and clownish. He’s like James Dean and Charlie Chaplin. I am sure I was drawn to his character’s quirkiness and desire to be loved.”
4. James Franco’s people were not happy about his soap opera debut: “You want to know what my agents did try to talk me out of? General Hospital. They didn’t think me acting in a soap opera was the greatest idea. But they know that I’ve always wanted to do a movie about the Beats, so no one tried to stop me from playing Allen Ginsberg.”
5. James Franco first read “Howl” as a trouble-making high schooler. Stars! They’re just like us.
6. James Franco used to steal man-perfume: “He was arrested for graffiti and underage drinking and was involved in a ‘cologne-stealing ring,’ in which he and some friends swiped bottles from department stores and then sold them to fellow students.”
7. James Franco was kind of a pain in the ass as a young actor: “I used to approach acting with a very antagonistic [attitude]… I was very hard to get along with, and it made working in film very unpleasant. It also hurt my performances. Now I think about acting differently. I feel a little detached from acting, actually. I still work really hard, but for my own sanity — and everyone else’s — I’ve had to surrender the results.”
8. James Franco “rarely sleeps.” Is that code for something else we should know about?
9. James Franco isn’t big on relaxing, either: “I would come home and he would be writing on the computer, reading a book, listening to music, and watching television all at the same time… I was, like, ‘Dude, chill out.’ I did this interview with him recently where I asked him when was the last time he did absolutely nothing. He couldn’t understand what I was talking about. He said, ‘What do you mean?’ So I tried to explain it. I said, ‘You know, you go to the park with your friends or you just relax and watch TV.’ He said, ‘I don’t know what that means.’ He literally does not understand the concept of downtime, of doing nothing.” — Franco’s brother, David
10. James Franco is refreshingly self-aware (but also kind of touchy) about his writing: “I don’t want to sound defensive at all… but if websites like Gawker.com or PerezHilton.com don’t like my writing, I can live with that. There is this crazy phenomenon in the blogosphere that is so hostile to anyone being creative, and if I incur that hostility from people who’ve probably read five short stories in the last 10 years, it doesn’t really bother me. I applied to 15 creative writing Ph.D. programs. I got into 14. Some of them only accepted one fiction writer. I know there’s this idea that I’m getting a lot of opportunities because I’m a celebrity, and there certainly is truth to that, but it’s not like I’m coasting. I’m working all the time. Short of writing under an alias, I’m doing everything I can to treat this as seriously as I can.”