Thank you Mr. James for sharing your “story” with us. We reduce the stigma of addiction by telling our story, being open and honest about the part we played in the disease, and ACCEPTING the fact that we have no control over a disease.
James Franco doesn’t do anything halfway. Even before Freaks and Geeks established him as an actor, he had a habit of throwing himself into whatever he was doing with the dial set to “11.” That gusto made him a bonafide star with the 2010 release of 127 Hours, the true story of a canyoneer, trapped by a fallen boulder, who eventually amputates his own arm to survive.
The gritty performance, much of which took place with Franco alone on-camera, was widely lauded and set Franco up to command his own destiny. Though he enjoys a great deal of creative control at this point, in his teenage years Franco pursued a rebellious lifestyle with just as much energy as he currently devotes to his film projects — at one point, the teenaged Franco was so out of control that he spent time as a ward of the state.
These days, Franco says he hasn’t had a drink since he was 29 years old, and has new battles with what he calls his “addictive personality.” The same drive that led him to drug and alcohol addictions in his teenage years has, at times, threatened to turn him into a workaholic. Many colleagues and reporters have remarked on his refusal to sleep decent hours and his never-ending, manic approach to managing all the irons he keeps in the fire. His passion for his projects is legendary, as is the intensity with which he throws himself into his roles.
For his upcoming film The Disaster Artist, Franco again disappeared into his role as eccentric director Tommy Wiseau — in fact, he refused to come out of character at any point on set, frustrating co-star Seth Rogen (and, apparently, confusing Rogen’s grandmother).
The film chronicles the making of cult classic The Room, widely regarded as the worst film ever made. Released on December 1, 2017, The Disaster Artist seems to be avoiding The Room’s fate; Franco’s film has been hailed by audiences and critics alike.
So how does Franco avoid his predilection for addiction as an actor? First, he’s begun working with his brother; Dave Franco’s calm, analytical personality serves as the perfect yin to Franco’s yang, balancing his manic tendencies by forcing him to focus on one project at a time. Second, he’s re-discovered the thrill of learning; from dance classes to learning to surf, he occupies his down time with new skills that have nothing to do with work.
Nearing 40, James Franco is a long way from the manic days and sleepless nights that characterized his early career. Fans and critics both hope that his new, more grounded approach to life leads him to even greater accomplishments in his craft.