Belfast Telegraph

Jealousy inspired James Franco to act

The actor used to fool dates with his accent talents.

James Franco's love for acting was stirred up by an amorous school pal who hit on his girlfriend in a play he wrote and directed.

The 127 Hours star didn't sign up for drama class until his senior year in high school, and it took a spot of jealousy to get him involved.

"I had a girlfriend in the drama programme and she had been asked to do a one-act by this guy," he tells W magazine. "He had written this one-act and was directing and starring in it. It was this romantic piece, and they were gonna make out in it.

"I got really jealous, and I begged her not to do it. But she did it anyway, as she should have. I realise in hindsight that I was jealous probably more because he had constructed this whole thing and he’d written it and directed it and was acting in it - it was, like, all the things that I wanted to do."

James decided there and then to join the drama class, adding, "I got the leads in the last two plays that year."

Although he had caught the acting bug, he'd left it too late to apply to drama schools or theatre programmes.

"I was in L.A., and there was, like, a guy in my dorm that was on the show Cybill, with Cybill Shepherd," he adds. "It was just all around me, and I was like, 'Well, I need to do this now'. So I dropped out of school. My parents wouldn’t support me anymore. So I worked at McDonald’s for two or three months... Then I got a Pizza Hut commercial, and then not long after that I did (TV show) Freaks and Geeks. So it all worked out."

The actor insists working at McDonald's helped him perfect his drama skills: "I would practice different accents in the drive-thru, like really bad accents. But people believed me."

He also discovered the accent trick was popular with the ladies, adding, "I'd always know that they were interested 'cause they’d come back around... She’d come back and she’d be like, 'Well, I’m trying to learn Italian. Maybe you could give me some Italian lessons'.

"There were a couple, I guess, with my Irish accent or, like, my Brooklyn accent - those I could go out on dates with. You know, we went to see Titanic, and I had to keep it up... I always had to break it to 'em, 'cause they’d call me, and it was before cell phones. So I’d pick up the phone, I didn’t know who it was. And I’d be like, 'Hello?' And they’d be like, 'James, is that you? What happened to your accent?' It was always the worst, as if I was this huge imposter... It usually ended right there."

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