Photo Credit: ABC
James Franco is best known for playing handsome, brooding outsiders: a rebellious stoner on the short-lived Judd Apatow series Freaks and Geeks, Peter Parker's frenemy Harry Osbourne in the Spider-Man movies, and Sean Penn's loyal partner in the 2008 biopic Milk. Now, the Pineapple Express star is carving a new, unique niche for himself -- playing, essentially, himself.
There was the fake behind-the-scenes video, shot on the set of 2007's Knocked Up, in which a super-obnoxious Franco was "fired" and replaced by Seth Rogen. Then came Erased James Franco, a surreal 2009 film by the artist Carter in which Franco re-enacted his own performances. And on last week's 30 Rock, Franco played himself -- or rather, a version of himself who fake-dates Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) to improve his public image.
Weird? Yes. But weirdest of all may be his role on ABC's General Hospital as a demented serial-killer/artist named (surprise!) Franco. After months of speculation about why actor-Franco would play killer-Franco on a soap opera, actor-Franco finally confessed his reasons for accepting the role, during a conversation with New York Magazine's Vulture blog:
1. He is making another art film.
Maladies, costarring Catherine Keener, will be directed by artist Carter, and Franco's character will be a former soap star -- which is how he got the idea to call up General Hospital and ask for a role.
2. He thought it would make him a better actor -- and he was right. Franco just landed a juicy role in Danny Boyle's next film, thanks in part to his quick memorization of the audition monologue. "Because I had just done GH, where I was doing 77 pages a day, I can memorize like that!"
3. He has a long-time love of soap operas. "I was home sick a lot because I didn't like school when I was little. So if I wasn't watching my VHS copy of Ferris Bueller's Day Off... I guess I was watching soap operas."
So far, we've never met a James Franco we didn't like. Check out a behind-the-scenes clip of Franco on General Hospital, below.
Do you think James Franco taking on a General Hospital role is bizarre or brilliant? Chime in below!