James Franco Bio: From Spider-man to Rise of the Planet of the Apes

From stoner comedies to acclaimed dramatic roles, this high school “Freak” is known for his range as an actor and his lopsided smile. James Edward Franco was born on April 19th, 1978 in Palo Alto, California, and found himself full of angst early in life. This caused him to engage in destructive behavior. He was arrested and almost sent to juvenile hall, but was lucky enough to score a second chance from the judge. To the surprise of his family, he soon dropped out of school to make acting his central focus. As a result, he soon went from minor television roles to becoming a major Hollywood star. Join WatchMojo.com as we take a look at the career of James Franco.
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Actor James Franco Biography: From Spider-man to Rise of the Planet of the Apes

From stoner comedies to acclaimed dramatic roles, this high school “Freak” is known for his range as an actor and his lopsided smile. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at the career of James Franco.

James Edward Franco was born on April 19th, 1978 in Palo Alto, California, and is the eldest of three sons.

Despite being encouraged to pursue a life of academics, Franco found himself full of teen angst. This caused him to engage in destructive behavior, which included painting graffiti, underage drinking and stealing designer perfume from department stores to sell to classmates.

He was arrested and almost sent to juvenile hall, but was lucky enough to score a second chance from the judge.

He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1996, and then attended UCLA with a Major in English. He took up acting in order to overcome his shyness. To the surprise of his family, he soon dropped out of school to make acting his central focus.

Franco studied intensely at Playhouse West for 15 months, while also working late-night shifts at McDonald’s. Finally he decided to pursue his dream of making it in Hollywood.

He took small roles on TV and in films, but his first big break came in 1999 when he starred as Daniel Desario on “Freaks and Geeks.” Despite its sudden cancelation after only one season, he jumped to film with a bit part in the Drew Barrymore comedy “Never Been Kissed,” and a starring role in the film “Whatever it Takes.” However, it was his portrayal of Hollywood legend James Dean in a 2001 made-for-TV biopic of the same name that gave his career a major boost.

It was the next year that Franco really took his place in the Hollywood spotlight when he played the son of the Green Goblin, Harry Osborn, in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man.” Franco had originally competed with Tobey Maguire for the lead role of Peter Parker. However the stellar success of the film prompted a trilogy and Franco’s character became the primary antagonist in its final installment.

In the years between “Spider-Man” sequels, he starred as a sex addict in the drama “City by the Sea,” became a legendary hero in the period film “Tristan & Isolde,” and took a tour as a pilot in “Flyboys.” What was even more impressive was his return to school to complete his bachelor’s degree at UCLA. He followed that by attending both Columbia and New York University to learn fiction writing and directing.

Following his final turn as Harry Osborn in “Spider-Man 3,” Franco ironically became the face for Gucci’s men’s fragrances. He later reunited with his “Freaks and Geeks” co-star, Seth Rogen in the outrageous 2008 stoner comedy “Pineapple Express.” That same year, he portrayed real-life activist Scott Smith in the critically acclaimed film “Milk.”

In 2010, he appeared alongside Mila Kunis in the Steve Carell and Tina Fey-led comedy “Date Night,” and as Julia Roberts’ lover in “Eat Pray Love.”

Despite all of his past success, he achieved his greatest amount of critical acclaim when he earned an Oscar nomination for portraying mountain climber Aron Ralston in the biographical film “127 Hours.”

Showcasing his ability to leap in and out of dramatic and comedic roles, he made a striking cameo as a moustache-clad gangster in “The Green Hornet,” and played fearless Prince Fabious in 2011’s medieval comedy romp “Your Highness.” That same year, he helped re-boot an iconic sci-fi franchise by appearing as a scientist in “Rise of the Planet of The Apes.”

Franco has developed a reputation as a deeply passionate and dynamic actor due to the intense preparation he undertakes for his roles. These efforts have driven him to live as a homeless person for several days, follow strippers and get a real-life pilot’s license. Even more shocking is that he has found the time between his countless projects to create art, and host the 83rd Academy Awards.
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