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spotlight on... JAMES FRANCO.


Image: New Paul Newman. Best known for: Spider-Man.

Early life: James Franco was born in Palo Alto, California on April 19, 1978. Growing up with his two younger brothers, James graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1996 and went on to attend UCLA, majoring in English. To overcome his shyness, he got into acting while studying there, but left after only one year. After 15 months of intensive study at Robert Carnegie's Playhouse West, James pursued his dream of finding work as an actor.

Career: Landed a role in TV show Freaks and Geeks, then scored a major success in a TV movie about the life of James Dean. That led to him being cast Spider-Man's best friend in the summer 2002 major hit Spider-Man and its sequels. Next was Deuces Wild (2002) and City by the Sea (2002), in which Robert De Niro personally had him cast. He showed his comic brilliance in Pineapple Express (2008) and appeared in Paul Haggis' In the Valley of Elah (2007), starring Tommy Lee Jones. He won rave reviews opposite Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant's Milk (2008) and gave a magnificent performance in 127 Hours (2010). He makes his directing debut this year. Despite these successes, Franco re-enrolled at UCLA in the fall of 2006 as an English major with a creative writing concentration. Love life: He was in a relationship with actress Ahna O'Reilly but separated in August 2011. Don't mention: spotlight on... JAMES FRANCO His troubled teens. He was arrested for petty crimes. Quote: "When I was a child, I wanted to be an actor, but I had really bad buck teeth. I didn't want to get braces, but my mom said I couldn't be an actor if I didn't get the braces. So, I got the braces."

Tonight: 127 Hours, Channel 4, 9pm.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 21, 2012
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