What I realized with Funny or Die is that I could take it into my own hands. On a much smaller scale, I think these videos are an accurate representation of who I am. As weird as they may be, I'm at least proud of them, and it showed that I do have a slightly different voice. I can't tell you how often people bring up these videos in interviews, and I'm so happy to talk about them because we created them from the ground up.
With these Funny or Die videos, I do everything for them. I write them, act in them, and co-direct them with my buddy Brian McGinn, who I grew up with. We also edit them together. We're working on a small scale of Internet videos, but we're slowly trying to make them become a bigger thing.
On how he spent his first Hollywood paycheck "I think my first big purchase was actually for my mom. She had one of those '90s TVs in her living room that's like a 10×10 brick, so I purchased her a flatscreen for her living room.
There's so much more freedom in film as far as subject matter and what can be said. And then, also, the process is different because there's more time. On movies there's just so much freedom and space to explore in front of the camera.
When I was in high school, I was dating this girl and wanted to make her birthday really special. I showed up early to school and went around to every single one of her classes and left a rose with her teachers. Each rose had a note with a little inside joke.
I'm trying to avoid any more asshole roles, at least for a little bit. The main criteria for me when choosing a project is a good director. I just want to work with these guys that I admire because I do want to direct my own films one day, and I want to pick their brains to see what their process is like, and see what I can take from that.
For example, for me, my brother helped me get a manager, which I don't take for granted. It's tough getting a manager, let alone one that actually cares about you and is smart. But from there, no one's going to cast me just because I'm James Franco's little brother.
In general, the few directors that I've worked with that I really respect have taught me a lot about who I am and they've opened me up as an actor. I want to take some of that to apply it to when I'm directing actors.