James Franco. biography
Born James Edward Franco on April 19, 1978 in Palo Alto, California, James Franco attended the University of California, Los Angeles for one year before dropping out and pursuing an acting career. After returning to UCLA in 2008 and earning an undergraduate degree, Franco moved to New York City to obtain a MFA at Columbia and a filmmaking degree at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He later went on to earn a PhD in English at Yale.
Ensuing fifteen months of extensive scene work with renowned drama coach Robert Carnegia at Playhouse West, Franco broke onto the TV screen with a starring role in the short-termed NBC series Freaks and Geeks (1999). Franco pushed forward and made his film debut in Never Been Kissed (1999), alongside Drew Barrymore, followed by a role in the romantic comedy Whatever it Takes (2000). Although commercially successful movies, Franco wasn't recognize until he starred in 2001's TNT cable biopic James Dean with a critically acclaimed performance, which earned him the 2002 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and led Robert Dinero to personally cast him in City by the Sea (2002).
Franco went on to tap into the blockbuster hit Spider-Man films (2002 - 2007), followed by a highly recognized performance opposite Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant's Milk (2008), which earned him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2010, James starred in the biopic 127 Hours and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. James then played the lead role in the sci-fi hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and starred alongside Seth Rogen in the comedy thriller Pineapple Express (2012).
James' most frequent projects include the drama True Story (2014) opposite Jonah Hill and the romantic drama The Third Person (2014), starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis and Olivia Wilde.
Is James Franco Gay?
James Franco has been at the receiving end of rumors that claim he is gay, mainly due to the numerous gay themed productions he chosen to associate himself with throughout his career. He portrayed a 17-year-old swimmer dating an older man in the indie film Blind Spot (2002), played the lover of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) in Milk (2008), made out with Will Forte on SNL, took a queer studies class at NYU, and developed art pieces encompassing gender and sexual confusion. His most prominent performance came with his first solo art show in New York City, which featured video monlogues, with memorable lines, including "We're all gender-f**ked-we're all something in between, floating like angels."
When asked by The Advocate magazine why he wouldn't come out if he was in fact gay, Franco replied, "I guess the reason I wouldn't is because I'd be worried that it would hurt my career. I suppose that's the reason one wouldn't do that, right? But no, that wouldn't be something that would deter me. I'm going to do projects that I want to do. 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. But on another level, there's something in me that is able to play roles like that in a way that's convincing."
Later, the Golden Globe winner sat down for an interview with Playboy Editor Stephen Rebello to confront the origin of the rumors.
"I had a close friend in school, and there were rumors that we were gay. These rumors were started by-who knows?-people who were jealous, people who had been picked on, girls who had been picked on. So they started these rumors. I like it now that people said I was gay. It's kind of cool," says James Franco when asked about the origins of speculation about his sexuality."
Rumors reignited when Franco announced his role in a project inspired by Cruising, director William Friedkin's controversial 1980 film about a New York cop, played by Al Pacino, who is hunting for a serial killer in the city's gay subculture. Travis Mathews, the director of the project, told Indiewire in an interview, "[Franco] knew he wanted real gay sex in it," furthering the reach of the gay rumors.
However, many find it hard to believe Franco is gay when he dated actress Ahna O'Reilly for over five years and continues to date other woman. Many have come to the conclusion that Franco is a tremendous actor that takes on challenging roles and expresses his views on sexuality, no matter what others may think of him or roles he takes on.
"There are lots of other reasons to be interested in gay characters than wanting myself to go out and have sex with guys," he is quoted by Entertainment Weekly as saying.
Dating History Timeline – James Franco's Girlfriends
1999 - 2004
Franco and Whatever it Takes co-star Maria Sokoloff started dating while working on set. They remained a couple for a few years but kept the relationship quiet.
April 2006 - 2011
Franco and actress Ahna O'Reilly began dating in 2006 and although they kept the relationship under wraps, they arrived at multiple red carpet events together. When asked about the status of their relationship in an interview with The Advocate, Franco stated, "It's over. That lasted about four or five years. We'd been living together in L.A. and then came to New York to go to school for two years. Then I signed up for more school at Yale. I think that was it for her."
June 2012 - Present
Franco and actress Amanda Seyfried started flirting and spending time together while shooting Lovelace, in which Franco plays Playboy founder and ladies man Hugh Hefner and Seyfried the porn star Linda Lovelace.