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The 34-year-old renaissance man has an undergraduate degree from UCLA, among other diplomas. He's been nominated for an Academy Award, and even (sort of) hosted the awards in 2011. Professionally, Franco has acted in a long list of movies, directed several others, and even written roughly a dozen plus screenplays.
Starting today, November 27, multi-hyphenate Franco can be seen facing off against Jason Statham in the Sylvester Stallone-penned action flick "Homefront." Franco plays Gator, a small-town meth kingpin who butts heads with Statham, a former DEA agent who shows up in Franco's town to finally settle down with his family.
Do you already know more about Franco than you'd care to? Maybe. Do you know everything there is to know about the man? Unlikely. From his middle-school shoplifting days to that time he shadowed a male prostitute, here are 20 things you probably don't know about James Franco.
1. After one year as an undergraduate at UCLA, Franco dropped out to pursue acting. It's been highly publicized that Franco has since graduated, acquired several degrees, and is now a PhD candidate at Yale.
2. Franco auditioned for the role of Peter Parker in "Spider-Man" (2002), but settled for the part of Harry Osborn after Tobey Maguire won the lead.
3. He was named Premiere magazine's Most Handsome Hollywood Man in 2009.
4. Franco is of Russian-Jewish heritage on his mother's side, and of Portuguese and Swedish heritage on his father's side.
5. While hosting the Oscars with Anne Hathaway, Franco dressed up in drag. Franco was widely panned for his hosting efforts.
6. For his breakthrough role in the biopic "James Dean," Franco smoked two packs of cigarettes a day to channel his inner Dean. Previously, he was not a smoker and has since quit.
7. In the Nicolas Cage directed "Sonny," Franco plays a discharged soldier returning to his hustler past. He shadowed a male prostitute to prepare for the role.
8. His favorite film is Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho" (1991). Franco worked with Van Sant on 2008's "Milk."
9. He played the recurring role of Franco (yes, really) on "General Hospital" in 2009. Betsy Franco, his real-life mother, played his character's mother in the soap, too.
10. Since high school, and long before he started acting, Franco has enjoyed painting in his spare time.
11. Franco was the latest target of The Comedy Central Roast. The special aired in September, and features friends and former castmates, like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader, and more.
12. Younger brother Dave Franco followed in James's footsteps and became an actor. Besides starring in "21 Jump Street," the two can be seen together in the Funny or Die series "Acting With James Franco."
13. Franco re-imagined classic sitcom "Three's Company" as a dramatic short for the Sundance Film Festival.
14. In junior high, Franco and his friends would shoplift high-end cologne and perfume, only to sell it to his classmates. Ironically, he became the face of Gucci cologne in 2008.
15. In October 2010, Scribner released Palo Alto, a collection of short stories by Franco that was largely inspired by Franco's teenage memoirs.
16. After meeting on set, Franco and "Whatever It Takes" co-star Marla Sokoloff dated for five years.
17. Franco acknowledges that he secretly always wanted to be an actor but feared the rejection. After he dropped out of UCLA and began to pursue a career in acting, Franco worked the late shift at McDonalds to support himself.
18. For his role in "Milk," Franco won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was later nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his star turn in Danny Boyle's "127 Hours."
19. Franco directed two short films set to R.E.M. songs, and one of the videos featured Lindsay Lohan.
20. In Spring, 2013, Franco received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the young age of 34.
[Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, Huffington Post]