Nick Franco Biography & Facts
James Edward Franco (born April 19, 1978) is an American actor and filmmaker. For his role in 127 Hours (2010), he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Franco is known for his roles in films, such as Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007), Milk (2008), Eat, Pray, Love (2010), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Spring Breakers (2012), and Oz the Great and Powerful (2013). He is known for his collaborations with fellow actor Seth Rogen, having appeared in eight films and one television series with him, examples being Pineapple Express (2008), This Is the End (2013), Sausage Party (2016), and The Disaster Artist (2017), for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
Franco is also known for his work on television where his first prominent acting role was the character Daniel Desario on the short-lived ensemble comedy-drama Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000), which developed a cult following. He portrayed the title character in the television biographical film James Dean (2001), for which he won a Golden Globe Award, and received nominations for Screen Actors Guild Award and Primetime Emmy Award. Franco had a recurring role on the daytime soap opera General Hospital (2009–2012) and starred in the limited series 11.22.63 (2016). He starred in the David Simon-created HBO drama The Deuce (2017–2019).
Franco volunteers for The Art of Elysium charity and has taught film classes at New York University, the University of Southern California, UCLA, Studio 4, Palo Alto High School, and Playhouse West. During his time as a teacher Franco admitted to having sex with several of his students, which led to lawsuits and a $2 million sexual-misconduct settlement in 2021.
James Edward Franco was born in Palo Alto, California on April 19, 1978. His mother, Betsy Lou (née Verne), is a children's book author and occasional actress, and his father, Douglas Eugene Franco, ran a Silicon Valley business. His father was of Portuguese (from Madeira) and Swedish ancestry, while his mother is Jewish, from a family of Russian Jewish descent. His paternal grandmother, Marjorie (née Peterson), is a published author of young adult books. His maternal grandfather, Daniel, changed his surname from "Verovitz" to "Verne" some time after 1940, and his maternal grandmother, Mitzie (née Levine), owned the prominent Verne Art Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio and was an active member in the National Council of Jewish Women.Franco's family upbringing was "academic, liberal, and largely secular". He grew up in California with his two younger brothers, actors Tom and Dave. A "math whiz", Franco interned at Lockheed Martin. He was often encouraged by his father to get good grades and did well on his SATs. He graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1996, where he acted in plays. This led to him attending CSSSA in 1998 for theater studies. In his high school years, Franco was arrested for underage drinking, graffiti, and being a part of a group that stole designer fragrances from department stores and sold them to classmates. These arrests led to Franco briefly becoming a ward of the state. Facing the possibility of juvenile hall, he was given a second chance by the judge. He recalled of his troubles with the law, "It was teen angst. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I was shy. I changed my ways just in time to get good grades."Although the idea of becoming a marine zoologist interested him, Franco had always secretly wanted to become an actor but feared being rejected. He enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as an English major, but dropped out after his first year (against his parents' wishes) to pursue a career as an actor, since he would have had to wait two years to audition for their acting program. He instead chose to take acting lessons with Robert Carnegie at the Playhouse West. Around this time, he took up a late-night job at McDonald's to support himself because his parents refused to do so. He was a vegetarian for the year prior to working there. While working at the establishment, he would practice accents on customers, an experience he remembered nostalgically in a 2015 Washington Post editorial titled "McDonald's was there for me when no one else was".
After 15 months of training, Franco began auditioning in Los Angeles. His first paid role was a television commercial for Pizza Hut, featuring a dancing Elvis Presley. He found guest roles on television shows but his first break came in 1999, after he was cast in a leading role on the short-lived but well-reviewed NBC television series Freaks and Geeks, which ran for 18 episodes and was canceled due to low viewership. Later, the show became a cult hit among audiences. He has since described the series as "one of the most fun" work experiences that he has had. In another interview, Franco said: "When we were doing Freaks and Geeks, I didn't quite understand how movies and TV worked, and I would improvise even if the camera wasn't on me ... So I was improvising a little bit back then, but not in a productive way." After his film debut Never Been Kissed, he played a popular jock Chris in Whatever It Takes (2000), a modern-day remake of the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac.He was subsequently cast as the title role in director Mark Rydell's 2001 TV biographical film James Dean. To immerse himself in the role, Franco went from being a non-smoker to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, bleached his dark brown hair blond, and learned to ride a motorcycle as well as play guitar and the bongos. To have a greater understanding of Dean, Franco spent hours with two of Dean's associates. Other research included reading books on Dean and studying his movies. While filming James Dean, Franco, to get into character, cut off communication with his family and friends, as well as his then-girlfriend. "It was a very lonely existence," he notes. "If I wasn't on a set, I was watching James Dean. That was my whole thinking. James Dean. James Dean." Despite already being a fan of Dean, Franco feared he might be typecast if he'd captured the actor too convincingly. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Franco could have walked through the role and done a passable Dean, but instead gets under the skin of this insecure, rootless young man." He received a Golden Globe Award and nominations for an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG).
Franco achieved worldwide fame and attention in the 2002 superhero film Spider-Man, when he played Harry Osborn, the son of the villainous Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) and best friend of Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire). Originally, Franco was considered for the lead role of Spider-Man/Peter Parker in the film. Todd McCarthy of Variety noted that there are "good moments" between Maguire and Franco in the film. Spider-Man was a commercial and critical success. The movie grossed $114 million during its opening weekend in North America an.... Discover the Nick Franco popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Nick Franco books.