James Franco turns 35 today. To commemorate the occasion, we put together a list of 23 of the actor/director/writer/artist/producer/college student's strangest and most memorable moments.
Why 23, you ask? It's an odd number with no obvious connection to Franco or his birthday, so it seemed like a perfectly incongruous number to use for a piece dedicated to a man who created an art installation entitled "Three's Company: A Drama." But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Enjoy! And happy birthday, James!
Gallery | James Franco's Odd-Ball Moments
- The Music Video for His Song 'Rising'
So, in case you didn't know, James Franco released an EP in 2011 called "Turn it Up," and in his video for the song "Rising" he definitely turned up the creepy. It features singer Kalup Linzy, and his floating, Wizard of Oz-like (foreshadowing?!) head.
- His 2010 Drag Cover Shoot for 'Candy' Magazine
We would like to start off by saying that we applaud Franco for his open mind, and his obvious acceptance of all things LGBTQ. It takes some real you-know-whats for a man to dress in full drag on the cover of a magazine dedicated to transvestite and transgender fashion -- and to not look half bad doing it. We think it's awesome. But, it was definitely one of Franco's biggest odd-ball choices for the simple fact that most men in Hollywood would not be caught dead in blue eye-shadow, red lipstick, and those fabulous leather gloves (we assume).
- His Stint on 'General Hospital'
Franco took a role on ABC's General Hospital as part of a supposed art-imitating-life film he was working on. He first appeared on the soap opera as the serial killer / artist aptly named Robert "Franco" Frank in 2009, and then reprised his role in 2011. His character was eventually killed off, but GH producers and fans claimed they enjoyed having the eccentric actor on the series. Maybe a character resurrection is in the near future for Mr. Franco? We can only hope.
- His 'Three's Company: A Drama' Multimedia Art Installation
Yes, you read that correctly: his "Three's Company" -- as in the '70s sitcom -- art installation. The actor/artist presented his dramatic take on the comedy series at 2011's Sundance Film Festival. To ensure that the audience fully appreciated the show's dramatic undertones, he re-created its first three episodes minus the laugh track and projected the finished product on four theater walls so it would surround the audience. But that's not all. To amplify the effect, Franco re-created the sitcom's famous living room set in the room where the video was being shown. Would you have paid to see that? Yes.
- His Justin Bieber 'Boyfriend' Parody Featuring Ashley Benson
James Franco and his "Spring Breakers" co-star Ashley Benson famously spoofed Justin Bieber's video for his song "Boyfriend." The rumored couple parodied the pop-star and his ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez in a dark and pretty creepy music video -- then promptly removed the video after Bieber complained. You can't stifle art!
- His Parody of 'Love You Like a Love Song,' Also With Ashley Benson
And they did it again. Benson and Franco took another stab at a Justin/Selena impersonation when they spoofed Gomez's "Love You Like a Love Song." Gomez didn't whine about it, so the video still lives.
- This Adborable But Odd Picture of Him Sleeping With Kittens
OK, this isn't the oddest thing we've seen Franco do, but its definitely quirky. It also resulted in countess Tumblr posts and memes -- naturally.
- His Role in 'Spring Breakers'
In "Spring Breakers," the actor played a "gangster" and wannabe rapper named Alien. As expected, Franco took the role as far and as sleazy as it could possibly go, and we loved it.
- This Special Message Brought to You by Franco and His Grandma
While promoting his role in the sex and neon-colored utopia that is "Spring Breakers," he enlisted his grandma to urge people to go see the movie. Does anyone else find it weird that he would ask his grandma to plead with fans to watch him have a threesome with Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson?
- His Role in 'Pineapple Express'
Before he played the hard-core Alien, he played lovable burn-out Saul Silver in "Pineapple Express." Saul was a pot-loving drug dealer, and, despite claiming he doesn't smoke weed, the actor got the stoner's squinty-eyed, vacant stare pretty much perfect (not that we would know).
- His Lackluster Performance as Oscar Host
There's really not much to say about this. The "127 Hours" star hosted the Oscars in 2011 with future Oscar winner Anne Hathaway. His performance was lackluster, to say the least. He looked less than thrilled to be there and gave the gig minimal energy. But hey, maybe he was intentionally low-energy. Maybe It was an artistic choice? Or maybe he was just the country's first official Hathahater.
- His Kickstarter Campaign for the 'Museum of Non-Visible Art'
In 2011 -- a year that turned out to be one of his oddest -- the actor/director/artist/writer joined a collaborative Kickstarter campaign called the Museum of Non-Visible Art in which contributors could purchase a piece of art that was -- wait for it -- completely and totally conceived in their own imagination. Yes, people actually gave Franco and his collaborators money for a title card that described a work of non-existent art. In his summary on the crowdsourcing site, he wrote that the project was "a museum that reminds us that we live in two worlds: the physical world of sight and the non-visible world of thought." Take our money!
- That Time He Made-Out With Himself
In 2010, Franco made a short film for the "New York Times" that consisted of him staring at himself in the mirror. At one point he makes out with his mirror-self. That's Franco!
- That Time He Started Referring to Himself in the Third Person
Again, in 2011, "127 Hours" director Danny Boyle revealed that Franco referred to himself in the third person while filming the movie. The director told Telegraph UK, "He would sometimes ask me, 'What do you want him to do?' I would say, 'What do you mean?' He would say, 'What do you want from him in this scene?' 'You mean your character?' 'No, no. Franco. What do you want from Franco?'"
- His Fictional Threesome With Tina Fey and a Japanese Girl-Pillow
In 2010, Franco took to "30 Rock" and played a slightly deranged version of himself. In the stand-out episode, Franco and Tina Fey's Liz Lemon end up in a threesome with... a pillow named Komiko. It was TV gold.
- His 'Dicknose in Paris' Short Film (NSFW)
In 2010, Franco went to Paris to shoot his short film "Dicknose in Paris." The movie consisted almost entirely of him gallivanting around the city wearing a prosthetic penis on his face, and walking up to unsuspecting, creeped-out citizens. You're welcome, France!
- His Poem to President Obama on Inauguration Day
Most A-list celebrities are very open supporters of President Obama, but did any of them take the time to write and then recite a poem on the Internet? James Franco did. To mark Obama's second term inauguration, Franco penned "Obama in Ashville." He then took to his webcam and recited the work to the world. Thank you, Mr. Franco. Thank you.
- His Disapproving Review of 'Girls'
Did you know that James Franco is not only a director, artist, singer, actor, and writer, but also a film and TV critic? That's right. The actor is a Huffington Post contributor, and last year he wrote an essay entitled "A Dude's Take on 'Girls.'" The review (of sorts) revealed that Franco doesn't particularly approve of the show, which depicts the non-struggles of four white, twentysomethings living in New York City. He scolded the show's creator and star, Lena Dunham, for basically writing her character Hannah as whiny and underprivileged. He also called out the show for not being ethnically diverse. Here's a sampling: "I worked at McDonalds, and my first suggestion to Hannah would be this: get a f**king job."
- His Disapproving Review of 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn'
"Girls" wasn't the only thing Franco set his sights on. In his missive on "Twilight," he was pretty much appalled by the fact that Taylor Lautner was presented as teenage sex-on-stick, writing, “The actors prance about like pieces of meat, their disturbingly developed bodies on full display; Taylor Lautner’s rippling teenage chest is just a little better than the child beauty-pageant stars at the end of 'Little Miss Sunshine.'” Sounds like someone could be jealous of Lautner's abs...
- That Time He Showed His Butt in Flaunt Magazine
In 2011, the actor gave fans a much closer look at his personal... areas. The actor bared his butt on the cover of Flaunt magazine, and the pic was not subtle. The giant, close-up shot graced the cover to much ado. We decided not to post it here, but if you're curious, just search for "James Franco Flaunt cover" and be prepared to see a different side of the actor.
- His Who Say Video Series 'The Invisible Bum'
Franco posts some pretty wacky things to his Who Say account, but one of the most out-there is probably his web series "The Invisible Bum." Yes, he created a show about the life and times of a slacker who takes a pill that makes him invisible. Watch it.
- The Poem He Wrote to Mark His 35th Birthday
Today, Franco graced us with another poem in the piece he wrote for the Huffington Post aptly entitled "Thirty-Five." The poem takes a nostalgic look back at his 31st birthday and other special moments in the jack-of-all-trade's life. Here's an excerpt: When I had no friends and my mom drove me to school Because I lost my license drunk-driving, and we wouldn't talk, We would listen to Blonde on Blonde Every morning, and life was like moving through something Thick and gray that had no purpose. And now I see that everything has had as much purpose Happy Birthday, James!