We all know him for his roles in big blockbusters – "Pineapple Express," "127 Hours," "Oz," the list goes on. The breadth of his roles in big times movies alone is extensive enough to put many others of his age to shame. Though, it is James Franco's lesser-known achievements that define him as one of the most accomplished young men of our time.
Unless you are one who creepily lurks around his social media (guilty), you probably aren't familiar with the fact that there is an ongoing debate about whether or not he should be considered an “intellectual.” Worrying about this is 1) a waste of time and 2) irrelevant to the fact that the man has some incredible work out there.
That being said, a lot can be learned from Franco, who has been reaping the benefits (or criticism) of the spotlight for over a decade.
His ability to transform into any given role is breathtaking. From drug dealer to scientist, he masters whatever is thrown at him. His portrayals of poets Allen Ginsberg ("Howl") and Hart Crane ("The Broken Tower") are chillingly accurate to those who have familiarized themselves with their work/livelihoods. The broad spectrum of parts into which he is able to transform himself stretches his popularity to a wide audience, which has surely contributed to his success.
Columbia and UCLA are just a couple of the universities Franco attended for various Writing and English programs. His ambition in pursuing master's and PhD's is boggling to many, considering the fame and fortune he would have had sans degree.
When asked about his education on "The Colbert Report," he responded, sincerely, that he felt like Scarecrow from "Oz," longing for a brain. Though he can sometimes come off as arrogant (hell, I would too if I were him), this particular interview was incredibly humble, which gives off the vibe that he attended school with a purpose. He wanted to know every crevice of his profession, a respectable attribute.
Though Franco doesn't use a lot of social media, he is devoted to his Instagram. Fans want something to feed off; his constant posting of selfies and weird sh*t no one really understands is a gentle reminder that he is still active in the world (@jamesfrancotv – go follow, he's funny). His sporadic writings for Huffington Post seem to be more of a creative pastime than something he takes seriously, but it's a place for followers of his work to identify with him on a relaxed and personal note.
The Time Manager
We all complain about not having enough hours in the day. The truth is, probably 4 or 5 hours of your day are spent internet-surfing, watching TV, socializing, whatever. These things are all well and good, but you have to admit that there are more productive activities in life.
Not only does Franco act in multiple films every year, he is also a producer (film and apparently Broadway in the near future), a philanthropist and an AVID reader. It's not just that he is filling his time with career-builders; he receives at least some sort of recognition for pretty much everything with which he's involved. It's clear that this guy knows how to budget his time. It's something we could all afford to do a little more, especially during the newest, freshest times of our careers.
It's clear why this renaissance man has reached such an envied level of success – he puts in the time, perseverance, energy and pure passion that many of us lack (but could easily turn around) in our aspirations. Love him or hate him, it's clear that he'll be sticking with us for quite awhile. And, if I may speak frankly, you'd best take notes.
Naomi Falk | Elite.