Franco’s Way: The actor entered blockbuster territory in 2002’s mega-hit Spider-Man, in which he played Peter Parker’s friend and romantic rival, Harry Osborn (pictured). Rather than coast on his newfound fame, Franco took intriguing roles in fringe projects, like Robert Altman’s ballet drama The Company and Nicolas Cage’s directorial debut Sonny (playing a prostitute). His devotion to his craft didn’t waver either: to play Robert De Niro’s homeless, drug-addicted son in City By the Sea, he lived on the streets and hustled for change. “I got a vision of maybe living that way for an extended period, and how bleak that could be, and how much it becomes about survival," Franco told Film Monthly.com of the experience.
Rebellious Reward: By taking a wide range of film parts, Franco was telling Hollywood that he wasn’t just another pretty face -- he was a serious actor willing to take risks. This reputation would later help him score lead roles in the daring, award-winning films Milk and 127 Hours.