A Minute With: James Franco on villains and being James Franco

Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:16am EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - James Franco has played a wizard, a doctor, a gangster rapper, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and himself, all in the past year.

In addition to acting, Franco is a teacher, a spokesman for the Italian fashion brand Gucci, a published author, artist and director. Does the 35-year-old actor ever feel like he's taking on too much?

Not likely. In 2013, Franco appeared in big budget films such as "Oz The Great and Powerful" and "This is The End" and smaller independent movies including "Spring Breakers" and his directorial film "As I Lay Dying."

In his latest project, the Oscar-nominated actor plays an ambitious small-town Southern methamphetamine dealer in the action film "Homefront," out in U.S. theaters on Wednesday.

Franco, taking a break from teaching film courses at three Los Angeles colleges, talked to Reuters about exploring darker characters and if he's ever worried about how people perceive him.

Q: What drew you to the villainous Gator in "Homefront"?

A: My first reaction was that this could be fun. I saw the character and I thought I could do something with this, and I think it could be a villain that wouldn't just be a cardboard villain.

Q: Gator's decisions led both him and those around him down a dark path. Did you empathize at all with his choices?   Continued...

Actor James Franco poses at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) 2013 Art+Film Gala in Los Angeles, California November 2, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni