James Franco Chats on Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio
On the Tuesday, December 7th edition of Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio" (airing 8pm ET/PT), host James Lipton chats with recently named Oscar host James Franco to discuss his career, his latest critically-acclaimed movie, "127 Hours," and a number of little known facts-for example, Franco used to steal bottles of sample cologne and sell it right out of his gym locker at school and he used his time while employed at a McDonald's take out window to brush up on his accent skills.
photo - NBC Universal.
James Lipton: Over the years, a couple of our guests on this stage have confessed to a life of youthful crime. There seems to be such a period in your life that began in junior high school. Would you like to get it off your chest tonight?
James Franco: I guess my life of crime started by stealing cologne. It's very true, yeah. We stole cologne from the Stanford Mall. We'd go to Macys and-
JL: You mean those things out on the counter where you could sample them?
JF: Yeah but they're real bottles. It's the actual bottles. They'll just take a bottle out of the package and put it on the counter for people to sample and that's what we would take.
JL: And for people to steal.
JF: We'd keep them in the locker, in our gym locker at school and we'd sell some out of the lockers.
JL: Didn't you recently do a cologne ad?
JF: Yes, I did. (laughs)
JL: Were they aware of your criminal past?
JF: At the time, no. But I think they are now, yeah.
JF: When I first left UCLA my parents were not very excited at all. And so they said, "We were willing to support you if you went to UCLAJ but now we're not going to support you. If this is what you want to do then you should support yourself." So I went into McDonalds and what do you know, they hired me on the spot.
JL: Were you the person in the window?
JF: In the drive-through window, yes. I would practice accents at McDonalds.
JL: In the window?
JL: But all the time, you were studying with Carnegie?
JF: He was the one person who said "You should take a chance on yourself." And he also said "I know you're working at McDonalds, so just pay me what you can and then down the road you can pay me back." And, you know, that meant a lot. So...so I paid him back. I paid him back.
JL: When Judd Apatow was in that chair, we talked about a movie I love which he produced. It's called Pineapple Express. How did the role of Saul, the super drug dealer, come to you?
JF: I was at a point in my career where I was not happy with a lot of the work I was doing and not because of for lack of trying. So one of the things I started doing is I started making my own movies, and made this movie that was based on a play I'd done called The Ape. And it was a very whacky play and it's a very whacky film. But I took it to some festivals and one of them was this Austin Film Festival, and Judd was there. And he came and watched my movie, and he said "James, it's so weird. You're doing all these dramatic movies, but then when you make your own thing, you're so goofy. You should come back to comedy." We went through a couple scripts and then he brought me Pineapple Express. It's something that Seth and his writing partner Evan had been working on for years. After I read the script, I had a meeting with Judd and Seth he said "What do you think?" and I said "Seth gets to play the role that I want to play." And I guess 5 minutes before I arrived, Judd had said "You know what'd be crazy, if James played the other role." And so when I said that, they said "Yeah, you can play that role."
JL: Somebody was stolen from first frame to last.