James Franco is returning to GENERAL HOSPITAL today as bad boy performance artist Franco. His mother, Betsy, will also be appearing on the soap. What was it like working with his mom on the show? "It was strange [laughs]. She plays my character's mother so it felt kind of familiar,” James explains in an exclusive interview with We Love Soaps, “but her character was a little different than she is, and our relationship on the show is little different than our real relationship. Especially since I play a murderer on the show and I'm not a murderer in real life. So it felt more familiar and a little strange. It was almost like an alternate universe [laughs]. What could have happened if I became a murderer."
In addition to acting, James expresses his artistic side as a painter, writer and director. "My parents were art majors at Stanford. My grandmother and uncle deal art. So it's always been around," he says. "They've always supported me and my brothers doing artwork."
James started acting in high school even though he was a shy kid. "I always loved movies so I was interested in film but I was in Northern California and had no concept of how one became a professional actor," he reveals. "I was really shy but once I started acting it was like I had permission to not be shy. So it was exciting."
Even before he started acting, James began painting. “I always was interested in art then in high school I got really serious,” he says. “I would study every day after school from 3 to 10 at an art league outside of my high school.”
Studying his craft in a serious way is something that is important to James, who attended NYU and Columbia MFA graduate programs and was accepted into Yale for the fall. "It's about studying subjects I'm interested in a serious way. I just have other things I want to do and it's a way I can do those things, like writing and directing films."
Writing became an interest on Franco's in high school. "That's when I started reading serious literature," he explains.
How did his return to daytime come about? “I had such a great time the last time I was on so I wanted to come back,” James says. “The GENERAL HOSPITAL producers and writers and [head writer] Bob Guza made it possible for me to do a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art. So I wanted to do that to combine GENERAL HOSPITAL and the museum.”
If he could go back to the start of his professional acting career in the late 1990s and give himself a piece of advice, what would he say? “Only do stuff that you believe in. Do projects that you love and never shy away from a project just because somebody says it might be a risk to your career. If you believe in it, just do it.”