premiere at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens during the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival on Monday in New York City.
The cozy couple have been dating for roughly two years.
When his acting career first took off, it seemed he was achieving his dream.
“My parents weren’t happy; they wouldn’t pay my rent any more so I worked at Mc Donald’s.” The actor is the eldest of three brothers.
His late father was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur while his mother Betsy is a poet, author and editor.
“Ohhh,” he says throwing his head back, “incredibly.
A million times more.” As a director himself now, he avoids casting opinionated young men.
“I’m not mad at you,” he replies, scrutinising me through half-closed eyes as he tilts back on his chair.
“This is just not the most exciting thing for me [he means our interview] so it helps me to know that someone else is getting something out of it.” He thinks for a moment. We’ll leave them out.” His assistant asks if he would like another cappuccino. For the first couple of minutes he is withdrawn, then he rallies and throws himself into the interview, if not exactly with enthusiasm, then at least with professionalism.
But he is now almost as well known for his extraordinary attempts to unshackle himself from a regular Hollywood career.
The attempts range from the relatively ordinary – painting, writing poetry and short stories – to the bizarre: running through the streets of Paris with a prosthetic penis attached to his nose for a video he entitled Dicknose in Paris; deconstructing himself by appearing as Franco, a mysterious multimedia artist, in 54 episodes of the afternoon soap General Hospital, and subsequently turning the experience into a video installation which examined what it meant to be Franco playing Franco.
We are here to talk about his latest film, Oz the Great and Powerful – in which he plays Oscar Diggs, a pre-Dorothy Wizard of Oz. Perhaps best known for playing Peter Parker’s friend in Spider-Man, Franco first rose to fame with the cult television series Freaks and Geeks.
Earlier in the day, at a press conference, Franco had looked by turns bored (head slumped against microphone, yawning frequently) and amused – teasing his young co-star, 13-year-old Joey King. In the past few years, he has had several leading roles, most notably in the survival drama 127 Hours, for which he received an Oscar nomination.
Playing the fraudulent wizard with humour and panache in Oz, Franco says he identified with Diggs’s journey through life.