James Franco shares behind-the-scenes stories, career advice during Orange Central visit

The actor spoke to a sold-out crowd about his acting career, heroes and pitfalls during Orange Central's "An Evening With James Franco."

While students welcomed James Franco's on-set anecdotes, it was the actor and filmmaker's advice to young creatives that was deemed most valuable. Speaking to a sold-out crowd in Goldstein Auditorium Saturday night, Franco said the best way to sharpen creative talent is to carve out a little time every day to work on it.

Photo: Courtesy of University Union
James Franco stuck around after his talk to take selfies with fans and sign autographs.

“Just do it,” Franco said. “If you want to be good at something, why not do it obsessively?”

The night, formatted as a question and answer session hosted by University Union as a part of Orange Central, began with the announcement of this year’s homecoming king and queen. Among a crew of 10 spirited Syracuse University students, seniors Bilal Vaughn and Miracle Rogers took the crowns.

Shortly after, senior and University Union president Lexi Kroll presented a film reel featuring Franco’s many roles as an actor, director and teacher. Clips included moments from Pineapple Express, As I Lay Dying and 127 Hours, as well as behind-the-scene looks at Child of God and one of his university classrooms.

Franco, dressed casually in a bomber jacket, striped T-shirt and sneakers, then stepped onstage to greet a roaring crowd. Through a series of questions moderated by Kroll, Franco shared his journey to the big screen and trivia about some of his films.

While filming The Interview, Franco and Seth Rogen remade Kanye West’s music video for “Bound 2.” Franco revealed that originally it was supposed to be a short clip, but he suggested remaking the whole project. Additionally, Rogen was slated to ride the motorcycle as West.

“He thought I’d be Kim,” Franco said. “He wanted to be Kanye.”

He admitted his work process wasn’t always perfect, referencing his shyness and keeping his work to himself.

“It’s really important to show others your work,” Franco said. “If they like it or not, it’s important to see how you communicate.”

And in terms of rejection, Franco shared that it’s a natural process and shouldn’t be discouraging.

“I still get rejected now. All the time,” Franco admitted before several bouts of laughter to himself. “Nobody has a perfect track record and, if they do, they’re probably not taking risks or doing what they want.”

His guidance resonated with students, including Jessica Bayer, a communications design senior.

“I took that to heart, for sure, ‘cause as a creative myself, I would like to do the same,” Bayer said about Franco constantly working at his craft. 

Franco also gave love advice.

“My dates go pretty well,” Franco confirmed. In order to have the same success, Franco stressed the importance of listening and being present. “Just be interested in the other person.”

He touched on love a couple other times throughout the night, sharing that there are currently no interests in his life. In another moment, he shared an intimate anecdote about his vivid dream to marry his girlfriend in the fourth grade.

After the questions, Franco stuck around to take selfies with fans and autograph student IDs, phones, notebooks, sneakers and anything else handed to him.

Freshman acting major and avid James Franco fan Hannelore Manriquez wrote a letter he was able to give to Franco.

“It was just about how much I like him and how much I respect him,” Manriquez said.

Sandhya Iyer, a public relations and marketing freshman, was pleased with the night.

“I think it’s awesome that he stayed after to sign stuff for everyone and he didn’t just go off as soon as the ending,” Iyer said. Although fans were pushing to get his attention, she was able to get her phone case signed.

“It will be with me forever,” she said.

A photo posted by James Franco (@jamesfrancotv) on

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.