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James FrancoJames Edward Franco (born April 19, 1978) is an American actor, film director, screenwriter, film producer, author, painter and performance artist. He began acting during the late 1990s, appearing on the short-lived television series Freaks and Geeks and starring in several teen films.

He achieved international fame with his portrayals of Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, drug dealer Saul Silver in Pineapple Express and Aron Ralston in 127 Hours. His other well known films include Milk, Tristan & Isolde, Flyboys, Date Night, Your Highness, Eat Pray Love and the upcoming Planet of the Apes reboot Rise of the Apes. He has been nominated for three Golden Globe awards, winning one, and received an Academy Award nomination for his work in 127 Hours.

Franco has been described as having "an unusually high metabolism for productivity...a superhuman ability to focus". Dissatisfied with his career's direction, Franco reenrolled at UCLA in the fall of 2006 as an English major with a creative writing concentration. Having received permission to take as many as 62 course credits per quarter compared to the normal limit of 19 while continuing to act, he received his undergraduate degree in June 2008 with a GPA over 3.5. For his degree, Franco prepared his departmental honors thesis as a novel under the supervision of Mona Simpson.

He moved to New York to simultaneously attend graduate school at Columbia University's MFA writing program, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts for filmmaking, and Brooklyn College for fiction writing, while occasionally commuting to North Carolina's Warren Wilson College for poetry. He received his MFA from Columbia in 2010. Franco is a Ph.D. student in English at Yale University and will also attend the Rhode Island School of Design.

Franco developed an aptitude for art—painting in particular—during his high school years while attending the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA). Franco has said painting was the "outlet" he needed in high school, and he "has actually been painting longer than he has been acting." His paintings were displayed publicly for the first time at the Glü Gallery in Los Angeles, California from January 7, 2006 through to February 11, 2006. Franco can also be seen painting in a scene in Spider-Man 3. He launched his first European art exhibition in 2011 at Peres Projects in Berlin.

Franco enjoys reading on the set of his films. Pineapple Express producer Judd Apatow has said of him: "He's a very education-minded person. We used to laugh because in between takes he'd be reading The Iliad on set. We still haven't read The Iliad. It was a very difficult book. With him, it was always James Joyce or something."

Since April 2006, Franco has been in a relationship with actress Ahna O' Reilly. In 2008, he was named as the new face of Gucci's men's fragrance line. Viewed as a sex symbol, Franco was named the Sexiest Man Living in 2009 by Salon.com. In response to questions regarding his sexuality now that he has portrayed three gay characters during his acting career, he insists he finds plenty more dimensions to the characters than their bedroom proclivities. "Or, you know what," he quipped, "maybe I’m just gay."

He was selected as the commencement speaker at his alma mater, UCLA, and was to speak at the ceremony on June 12, 2009. On June 3, 2009, however, a press release announced Franco's cancellation due to a scheduling conflict, making it the second year in a row, after Bill Clinton, the commencement speaker had cancelled the appearance. On January 26, 2011, Franco and the Harvard Lampoon released a satirical video on prominent comedy website Funny or Die mocking his last-minute cancellation.

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