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.”
“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!
If you haven’t heard of James Franco’s hot younger brother Dave Franco, then you are wasting your life. We’ve been obsessively riding the Dave Franco bandwagon since he uploaded the hilarious “Acting With James Franco” on FunnyorDie.com about five years ago.
Since then he’s made a name for himself making funny shorts for FunnyorDie.com namely because most of his videos feature tons of man loving.
We mean that like, he hooks up with dudes in the videos and it’s the greatest thing ever.
“It is one of these things where people ask me, ‘why do you make videos like this?’ It is not like I am intentionally thinking, ‘I am going to make this very homoerotic video.’ I am drawn towards things and make things that feel different and original. I don’t know why they always end up having gay themes but that is the way that it is,” Dave tells Hollyscoop at the press junket in New Orleans for his new movie, Now You See Me.
He’s got “You’re So Hot With Chris Mintz-Plasse” where he and Chris exchange “Your So Hot”-ism’s like, “You’re so hot, I wanna smoke bath salts and eat your d*ck off.”
That was the least vulgar line, by the way.
Even when he makes a video that you think is purely hetero, like, “Would You Rather” where he hooks up with his best girlfriend, he pulls off the covers at the last minute to reveal she has a penis.
He also makes love to himself in “Go F*ck Yourself” where he literally does that.
Funny, hot, controversial? Sure. Either way, Dave, don’t stop doing what you’re doing because you have a huge gay following (and chick following).
“I think there is a gay following,” he tells us, “The ones I know about are amazing and once they are onboard they are there the whole way. I would love for that to continue.”
So, any new projects in the pipeline for Dave? Gay or otherwise?
“I am working on a comedy called Townies. It is a big Seth Rogen comedy and it is very homoerotic. A lot of male nudity. A lot of penis jokes,” he adds.
In case “Dave Franco,” “male nudity” and “penis jokes” in the same sentence wasn’t enough to jump-start your daydreams, Zac Efron is also in it. We’ll let that soak in.
When you run out of Dave Franco comedy shorts online, you can see Dave in the epic-magician-thriller-bank-heist flick Now You See Me, which hits theaters on May 31.
The eulogy is short and begins around 5pm.
“Say it like you mean it, man,” says Dave Franco.
The 27-year-old actor is peering around the bathroom door, wearing tortoiseshell Wayfarers and a stern face. We’re huddled over a toilet — memorialising a dead gecko. Franco’s stylist mumbles about “being taken too soon”, riffing on the life and times of the deceased, ruing unfortunate circumstances and so on.
The proceedings finish with a flush.
The accidental couch-squishing of our (former) reptilian companion was met with a chorus of “aaaws”. It was, to embrace some Southern Californian speak, a “gnarly” experience. The gecko’s eyeballs popped — a genuinely disheartening moment in an otherwise serene day in the Hollywood Hills.
Earlier that morning — happier times — you’d have heard little other than Franco’s laughing voice: punchy, begging-for-mercy chortles. Then, you’d see the by-product — a familiar, whole-face grin he shares with his famous brother.
That’s not to imply he’s a granite-jawed, doe-eyed facsimile. Sure, you know James for his permastoned Freaks and Geeks stare, a manic pursuit of academia and Spider-Man. But this Franco hits the gym every day, keeps his facial hair in order, and, at breakfast a few days later, substitutes bacon for chicken breast.
Rapidly coming into his own, Dave went from subversive Funny or Die website clips to a pitch-perfect performance as a trust-fund dipshit in the final season of Scrubs. Last year he was the (again dipshitty) foil to Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in the laugh-out-loud 21 Jump Street.
This Franco — gifted, equally gorgeous — is patently watchable. Case in point: Funny or Die’s ‘Go Fuck Yourself’ — in which he meets himself at a bar after a row with his girlfriend, goes on romantic dates with his double and finishes having sex with himself. It’s a wildly funny two minutes and five seconds.
Read the full story in GQ’s April 2013 issue.