In just a few short years, Dave Franco has managed to carve out his own niche with Funny or Die videos and memorable turns in films like “21 Jump Street” and “Warm Bodies.” The younger brother of actor James Franco will be seen on the big screen this weekend in “Now You See Me,” making magic with Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Jesse Eisenberg. He spoke to Backstage about how to make your mark in the business.
Be willing to fight for it.
Franco says his role in “Now You See Me” was the rare case of just meeting with the director, Louis Leterrier. Asked when he began to skip auditions and go right to meetings, Franco says he noticed a slight change after he appeared in the final season of “Scrubs” as a regular. “It was the first time I was able to play a significant role in anything and show what I could do,” he says. “ Of course, after ‘21 Jump Street,’ things changed even more. I can be slightly more selective about the roles I take, but I’m still fighting for everything I want. They’re not going to hand me any great roles at this point; I’m going to have to fight for them.” Did knowing “Jump Street” star Jonah Hill give him any advantage in landing that role? “I guess in the sense that I felt slightly more comfortable when I was in the room with him. But I went through a pretty arduous process with that one,” says Franco. “I went in about six times. It’s very rare that I come across a role I really respond to and I’m happy to put in the work and fight for it.” He didn’t have to put up a fight for “Now You See Me”—though he didn’t hear from Leterrier for awhile. “Six months passed and I got a phone call and they told me all these incredible actors were attached, and they wanted me to be a part of it,” he says. “I thought they were joking. From there on out, I just kind of kept my mouth shut and prayed they didn’t realize they made a mistake.”
Make some magic.
The actors on “Now You See Me” worked with a magic consultant, David Kwong to learn the tricks of the trade. “I play a sleight of hand magician so I learned how to throw playing cards, and I got weirdly good at it, to the extent that I can actually cut a banana in half with a playing card now,” Franco reveals. “I don’t know if that’s something to be proud of. But I spent hours on end, over a span of months, learning how to do that. And I will probably never use it again in my life until I have kids.” Franco says it was important to him that the tricks be real whenever possible. “I wanted to learn as many of these tricks as I could because I wanted there to be as much real magic in the movie as possible,” he says. “I didn’t want them to have to use CGI.”
Dave is set to be one of the guests on the May 31 episode of ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’. Check back next week for the full clip of his appearance.
The first wave of the 2013 Teen Choice Award nominations have finally been revealed and Warm Bodies is up for 4 awards, including Choice Movie: Comedy, Choice Movie Actor: Comedy (Nicholas Hoult), Choice Movie: Romance, and Choice Movie Actor: Romance (Nicholas Hoult).
Check out who they are up against in each category below. The awards ceremony is set to air Sunday, Aug. 11, on Fox.
Choice Movie: Comedy
“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”
Choice Movie Actor: Comedy
Skylar Astin, “Pitch Perfect”
Jason Bateman, “Identity Thief”
Steve Carell, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”
Nicholas Hoult, “Warm Bodies”
Craig Robinson, “Peeples”
Choice Movie: Romance
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”
Choice Movie Actor: Romance
Josh Duhamel, “Safe Haven”
Alden Ehrenreich, “Beautiful Creatures”
Nicholas Hoult, “Warm Bodies”
Robert Pattinson, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”
Eddie Redmayne, “Les Misérables”
Starting today, fans ages 13-19 can vote once each day per category for their favorite TEEN CHOICE 2013 “Wave One” nominees at www.teenchoiceawards.com. Host(s), performers, presenters and additional nominees will be announced soon.
This is a tag late, but 5 MQ photos of Dave at the “Now You See Me” press conference on May 12 has been added to the gallery. Enjoy!
• Appearances > 2013 > May 12 | “Now You See Me” Press Conference
“Now You See Me” is a big step up for 27-year-old hottie Dave Franco, who’s been seen in a bundle of TV and film parts including “Fright Night” and “Charlie St. Cloud” — but has been best known up till now as James Franco’s little brother.
The May 31 release thriller about a band of audacious and preternaturally gifted young magicians, who have unique ideas for redistribution of wealth, should go a long way toward elevating Dave’s stardom. Talking about being in a cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, Franco tells us, with self-effacing charm, “It was almost unbelievable. I would tell my friends I grew up with who was in the movie, and they would say ‘How the ?&!$ did you sneak into that?’ They keep me honest.” He laughs. “I kept thinking, ‘I hope they don’t realize they made a mistake.’ It was a little intimidating because I wanted to prove I belonged. But from day one, everyone welcomed me and treated me as an equal.”
As far as James’ advice? Dave lets us know his brother is a very supportive sibling. “He’s always there for me. But to be honest, we don’t talk about acting very much. If I have a question, he’s always there to answer it, though.”
He adds, “The main thing he’s told me through the years is to try and be as patient as possible and wait until you find something you’re genuinely passionate about. Sometimes it’s tough because you’re sitting around, you’re anxious. You want to get back to work. But sometimes it’s better to do nothing than to jump on a project you’re not really passionate about.”
Not surprisingly, he’s passionate about “Now You See Me,” which required him to spend long hours perfecting sleight of hand techniques on top of prepping for action including a fight sequence with Ruffalo.
“My favorite thing was probably the same as the hardest thing, which was the fight sequence.
We rehearsed that for weeks on end. I loved it,” he says. “While we were filming it, I remember thinking, ‘Why would I want to film some dramatic movie crying all day when I could be fighting Mark Ruffalo and flipping over tables?’ Of course, I want to do more serious work as well, but for the moment — I mean, it really got real. Mark and I both insisted on doing as much of our own stunt work as they would let us, and we got bruised up. I have scars on my body that will be there forever that I got doing that fight sequence.”
James Franco and Dave Franco are kind of our favorite brotherly duo in Hollywood (okay, a strong case can be made for Liam and Chris Hemsworth), but if you ask Dave, he and James don’t really see eye-to-eye all the time when it comes to their take on acting.
“He is so much older than me and if you meet the two of us, you realize how different we are too,” Dave tells Hollyscoop at the press junket for his new movie Now You See Me, “He will take on roles that I could never touch and vice-versa.”
So, it’s not like James and Dave are ever going to be up for the same role. However, even though Dave claims that James is “so much older,” he’s really only like 8 years older, but honestly they could pass for twins.
“I hope the world starts to see us as separate people and give me my own credibility at some point,” Dave tells us.
But did the older Franco give his little bro some much-needed advice as he followed him into the glamorous world of Hollywood?
“We don’t talk about acting all that much, but the best advice he has given me was to try to be patient and wait for roles, that I am generally passionate about. Obviously, at this point in my career, I can’t be the choosiest person in the world, but I can be slightly more selective now. I do my own projects in the meantime, until these scripts come along that I really want to fight for.”
One of those scripts he really fought for was Now You See Me. Dave stars alongside Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson as a group of magicians who pull off a bank robbery. Now You See Me hits theaters on May 31.
Dave gets a little too excited during the interview but who wouldn’t? :) Watch some of the interviews below and more under the cut.
Emmy winner Jake Hamilton travels to New Orleans to talk with the stars of NOW YOU SEE ME — Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher and Mark Ruffalo — only on JAKE’S TAKES!
At the New Orleans press junket, Beyond The Trailer host Grace Randolph sits down to interview Dave Franco! Learn more about his magic fight scene with Mark Ruffalo, plus how his writing on Funny or Die is inspiring him to make movies himself! Enjoy this interview with Dave Franco about Now You See Me before you see the full movie in 2013!