James Franco Thanks 'General Hospital' for Next Big Movie Role

Many people shook their heads at James Franco's decision to go from movie star to soap star, when he took a role as a crazed serial killer on General Hospital. But now the actor is crediting his daytime stint in furthering his film career.

Franco is starring as Aron Ralston in the new film 127 Hours, about a real-life mountain climber who saved his own life by cutting off his right arm when it got stuck under an 800-pound rock that fell on him in the middle of Utah's remote Canyonlands National Park.

But director Danny Boyle admits he initially had doubts about casting Franco in the part.

"We saw a number of guys and he wasn't the obvious choice because he's not a look-alike and he's an urbanite really," Boyle told E! News. "He's a city guy like me. He's not a wilderness guy. I wasn't sure at first. We met him and he was so relaxed—he looked stoned to me."

Still, Franco got a second chance and was asked to try out.

"I did have to read for it," Franco said Monday at the Hollywood Awards. "He had me fly out to L.A. He didn't give me any material to prepare and when I got there he gave me a page-long speech."

And that's where his daytime drama experience came into play.

"He asked if I could memorize and do it right away, which normally would have been difficult but I had just been working on a soap opera, General Hospital," he said. "I had to memorize like literally 70 pages a day so that little speech was no problem."

After impressing the execs with his skills, Franco snagged the role. "I don't think he knew at the time that General Hospital helped me get the role."

Do you think working on a soap opera helped James Franco's career? Chime in below!

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