Who could forget the name James Franco in Hollywood? In fact, he is currently in the spotlight not just because of his successful films, but also because of the recent controversies and allegations being thrown on him. Aside from all the issues being printed in the news lately, you may be asking, "Who is James Franco?"
Of course, you already know that James Franco is an actor and the brother of Tom and Dave Franco. He was known in his previous roles as Harry Osborn, Peter Parker's best friend and Green Goblin's son in the "Spider-Man Trilogy", as the Wizard in the film "Oz the Great and Powerful", and as Aaron Ralston in the film "127 Hours". Just in late 2017, he starred in the movie, "The Disaster Artist", for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. In fact, reports also confirmed that he will be working on an X-Men spinoff where he will be portraying Multiple Man.
Aside from being an actor, he is also a filmmaker, a producer, and an artist. And apparently he has a net worth of around $30 million. Is he living a lavish lifestyle? Sure, he is. Since Franco does not like vacations as he said during one of his interviews, he has other ways of spending his fortune. There are things that trigger Franco to splurge on things from mansions, to cars, to pets, and novels.
Find out what are the shady things James Franco will never think twice about before spending money on!
17 Buying And Selling Mansions
James Franco made headlines when he purchased a Silver Lake mansion in Los Angeles that was owned by the designer Jane Bryant. Named "mini compound", the property has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a deck. Franco bought this Spanish-style house for $775,000 in 2012. However, he sold it in 2017 for $949,000. Franco, however, did not live in the house for long. It was inhabited by his team of movie producers who, as neighbors complained, were making their lives miserable by having regular shoots and blocking their driveway. Though they said they like Franco, they prefer their sanity and peace of mind.
In 2003, he also purchased a multi-storey Mediterranean-style building in Los Angeles for $1,165,000. He also sold this in 2006 for a hefty $1,525,000. In fact, he also had two other properties in Palo Alto, California, and, of course, his Sunset-Strip Home that was worth $3.3 million.
16 Luxury Cars Are A Must For Any Hollywood Star
Aside from his mansions, he also has other passions. Just like any other popular men in the TV and film industry, Franco loves cars. According to some reports, the actor, has numerous luxury cars. Some reports even said that he owns around five supercars, but he definitely drives a Q3 manufactured by Audi, which is rumored to be worth $80,000.
That is not the only luxury car that Franco drives. In fact, he is also known to own a Cadillac CTS. This luxury car is worth approximately $60,000. Let us not forget that together with Sienna Miller, Franco also launched the BMW i3 in 2013. This was the car that Franco forgot to coherently introduce and discuss during the vehicle’s launching – something that gave him a bad light to car manufacturers.
Lastly (but probably not the very last) was his Toyota Scion for which he was also a brand ambassador.
15 He Loves Buying Cats
So yes, Franco somehow has a soft spot for kitties! He said that he is a cat person, so he has his own cute felines at home. Actually, there are numerous cats living with Franco because he really loves cats. He also mentioned that he was raised by his parents in a home full of love for kitties. His first cat was Sammy he adopted in 2011, and then followed with the adoption of his cat Zelda. In fact, these two felines are becoming more of a celebrity themselves since Franco has been putting pictures of them on Instagram.
In 2013, Franco also adopted the twins Max and Lux who are allegedly worth $1.8 million. These two apparently were a cast in one of his movies, “Homefront”. Franco found them cute while on set so he wanted to take them home.
14 He Loves To Throw Parties
Just like any other celebrity with a huge net worth, Franco loves to throw parties. His most recent party was for the Golden Globe male nominees including Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman, Ansel Elgort and a lot more Hollywood actors. It was a dinner party for the boys and a little get together. Let us not forget that in 2011, he also had a "secret after-Oscars-party" in his then new bar.
Also, you might already know that Ahna O'Reilly is his ex-girlfriend. In 2013, he threw a bash for O'Reilly on a yacht in Cannes after their breakup in 2011. Franco organized this soiree on the yacht to toast O'Reilly's debut in two films at that time.
He also throws themed parties for his birthdays. One time, he prepared a Ziggy Stardust party at Disneyland where he dressed up as David Bowie. He also hosted a party for the cast of "The Disaster Artist", which he stared in with his brother Dave Franco.
13 Takes His Girlfriend On Expensive Dates
If Franco threw a party on the yacht for O'Reilly after their breakup, what more can he do for his girlfriend? Late in 2017, Franco revealed to the public that Isabel Pakzad is his girlfriend. Although the two enjoy eating ice cream and walking by the beach, and even amidst the controversies about Franco's misconduct, they were spotted having a romantic dinner at the Soho House in Malibu, California. For the record, Franco is a member of the Soho House and reports say that a Soho House membership will cost approximately $1500 for premium access. So, just imagine how much a beautiful romantic dinner at the Soho House would cost.
Well if he can do those things for O’Reilly and Pakzad, he probably has spent thousands on one date night alone for his past girlfriends such as Marla Sokoloff, Lindsay Lohan, and Siennna Miller.
12 Bought Portraits Of Himself From A 13-Year-Old Fan
Franco does not just paint. Because he is a "legit art lover", he also buys paintings worth a fortune. That is because he appreciates art and he was piqued by the art world. One of the most interesting works he bought that made headlines back in 2011 was when he bought a portrait (or portraits) of himself from a fan named Macy Armstrong. The fan is extraordinary. First, it is not because she is a girl, but because she is a 13-year-old artistic and creative girl.
The story went like this. When Franco was at the Toronto International Film Festival, he spotted a girl wearing a shirt with Franco's face on it, which was, by the way, homemade. Armstrong also brought three of her Franco masterpieces – yarn portrait of Franco, a newspaper collage of Franco, and a canvas of the "127 Hours" poster. So, Franco decided to buy the artwork!
11 He Loves Novels So He Bought The Rights To "Zeroville"
Aside from the love for art, Franco also loves novels! What does he not love? In 2011, he bought the rights to Hollywood novel "Zeroville". This is Steve Erickson's book about a young student who moves to Hollywood in 1969. It depicts a young man’s obsession with cinema, how he climbed the ranks of the Hollywood elite, and then found himself in a precarious romantic situation. The movie adaption even includes actors Robert de Niro and Brian De Palma.
In 2017, he directed the movie "Zeroville" based on the novel. He cast himself as Ike Jerome, the one with the Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Cliff tattoo, together with Megan Fox as Soledad, Will Ferrell as Rondell, his brother Dave Franco as Montgomery, and his best pal Seth Rogen as Viking Man.
10 He Also Bought Rights To The Novel "Rant"
So, Franco was not content with one novel, so he purchased another one. In 2014, Franco bought the rights to the novel "Rant” which is written by Chuck Palahniuk. He said he wants to develop a movie based on the 2007 novel of Palahniuk. In 2016, reports surfaced the internet claiming that the producer Banana-Dragon Productions are still in the process of meticulously crafting the novel to be formed into a film. There is no doubt that the production company and Franco will do a decent job adapting the novel into a movie.
"Rant" is a story about Buster Landru Casey, also known as “Rant” in his rural town. Buster gets crazily obsessed with getting himself bitten by venomous and rabid animals. Later, he moves to a city full of contrasting status quo. Yea, this should be an interesting movie.
He Bought Film Rights To "The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism and Murder”
Let us not forget that he also bought the rights to “The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism and Murder.” This was written by the American author, activist, and filmmaker Stephen Elliott. The book depicts the case of Hans Reiser, a well-known software genius. Elliot attended every court trial with the aim of writing a best-selling book.
The memoir was published by the Graywolf Press, an independent, non-profit publisher based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Of course, the reason why Franco bought the rights to this memoir is because he wanted to develop this into a movie. In 2015, the film "The Adderall Diaries" was released under the direction of Pamela Romanowsky.
Franco has always been so exceptional when acting as a mentally-ill person in films. It was not a surprise when he starred in the film as Stephen Elliott, alongside Amber Heard as Lana Edmond and Ed Harris as Neil Elliott.
9 He Loves Making Films...But That Costs A Lot Of Money
There are also reports that claim Franco bought the rights to David Lehman's "The Last Avant–Garde". John Lehman is a poet and The Best American Poetry series editor currently teaching at The New School in New York City. His book is about the story of the last authentic avant-garde movement in the American history of poetry in circa 1951.
Reports also suggest Lehman will proudly collaborate with Franco to successfully develop the novel into a good film. He commended Franco for being a talented artist and actor with a deep sense of appreciation for poetry. He was also thrilled at closing a deal with the actor wherein both of them benefit.
It wasn’t disclosed how much he paid for the film rights, but Franco said that he approached several investors who love poetry to come up with enough cash. The movie will also feature Seth Rogen as James Schuyler if the production of the film is successful.
8 He Is A Big-Shot Producer
Of course, James Franco is more than just an actor and director, he is a producer! Therefore, he spent a lot of money successfully producing films. Franco is also the owner of the Rabbit Bandini Productions.
First, let us start with his 2010 produced documentary "Saturday Night". Then, in 2013, Franco co-produced "Interior. Leather Bar", which was also directed by Franco. This movie garnered several accolades in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Being new to directing and producing, Franco is doing a good job while shuffling his many careers.
In 2015, he successfully produced "The Sound and the Fury" wherein he also starred together with Ahna O'Reilly and Jacob Loeb. Don't forget that he also produced "The Room" and "Black Dog, Red Dog".
You may have noticed that most of the movies he produces and directs he also stars in. Also, most of the films he is involved in centers around heavy drama and depicts emotional and mental hardships.
7 He Bought L.A. Weekly In 2017
Before anyone ever forgets, Franco also bought L.A. Weekly in 2017 under a joint offer after the media property was reportedly on sale.
The print and media company was already facing down times and so they put the property on sale. And then an unlikely pair decided to team up to make an offer. Who is the other owner? Franco said it is Tico Westmont. What happened during the first meeting with his editorial team was funny yet really weird. When Franco was asked who the other owner of the L.A. Weekly is, reports said that he excused himself and returned back with slicked-back hair and a button-up shirt claiming he is Tico Westmont. Of course, the staff noticed that Franco was pretending to be Westmont. We wish L.A. Weekly good luck.
6 Paid For His Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star
Every Hollywood star should have his own Hollywood Walk of Fame Star. And yet mega-stars like Julia Roberts, Robert De Niro, and Dustin Hoffman don't have one. Is it because a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star costs $30,000!? In 2013, Franco received his own Walk of Fame Star, and it is reported that Franco himself bought the star. Of course, as an actor, this is an achievement, but there are a lot of celebrities like Franco that spent tons of money just for the star.
According to the Walk of Fame, a celebrity should be nominated first. Once the council chooses the celebrity, the one who nominated the celeb should pay for the Star, but sometimes, celebrities themselves pay for their own star.
5 His College Degrees Were Not Cheap Either
It is not all about the mansions, cars, parties, or charities for Franco. Education is also an important investment for him. After his Paly days as a high school student, Franco studied at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), but later dropped out to take acting lessons. In 2006, he decided to enrol back to UCLA and continue his English major. A year in UCLA costs about $11,000 or more.
But his hunger for knowledge did not stop at UCLA. In fact, he also attended the MFA Program for Writers at North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College, where he chose to study poetry. An academic year in this college costs $33,000. Don't forget that Franco also went to the Rhode Island School of Design, where a complete year costs $66,000.
And lastly, he allegedly earned a PhD in English at Yale University. This was Franco's dream, so he chose a good university. An academic year in Yale University for a doctoral degree is $70,104 or $63,762 for nine months. Now, you know where James Franco spends his fortune.
4 He Donated His Artwork
Because he is from Palo Alto, California and he studied at the Palo Alto High School or Paly during his high school years, he donated two murals and several paintings to Paly. His black and white murals were originally hand-painted by Franco himself. The images were based on Franco's freshman yearbook in 1993. He also hosted an art show in the campus to show the Paly students the importance of an arts education. He also hung about 20 large painting around the campus.
However, because of the allegations he is facing in 2018, Paly decided to take down the murals. Paly painted and covered the mural. The school stated that they indeed appreciated his donations, but they need to return the paintings because artwork is temporary and needed replacement. Though Franco said that the accusations of misconduct were not accurate, Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks said that the school will prioritize the wellbeing of the students.
3 And Also Donated His Films' Proceeds To The Art Of Elysium
Aside from his donations to his school, Franco is also a proud supporter of the "Art of Elysium", a charity using arts as catalyst for a social change and help youths that are ill to discover happiness. Franco is more than just an actor, filmmaker, producer, and artist, he is also a philanthropist. He donated the proceeds of his small films "Memoria", "Killing Animals", and "Yosemite" to charity to help the terminally-ill children achieve their goals and needs.
Art of Elysium also has several celebrity supporters, including Scarlett Johansson or "Agent Romanoff" of the Marvel's Avengers, Miley Cyrus, Mark Wahlberg, Amber Heard, and more Hollywood stars and personalities who are also known in supporting charities and causes. There are also other campaigns that help Art of Elysium raise money and achieve its goals.
2 He Offered Custom Portraits For $10 To Raise Money For Charity
Since Art of Elysium is not the only charity Franco supports, there are few other charities where he happily donates his money. Franco gave one lucky winner the chance to win exclusive tickets to fly to his studio and have their portrait painted by the actor for $10. All of the donations would go directly to his chosen charity, which is RED, a charitable institution dedicated to fighting AIDS.
To advertise his cause and ask for donations, he announced his fundraising campaign through a video showing his skills in painting and his works of art. Part of what he had shown was a nude painting of his BFF Seth Rogen.
In case you ask, Franco provided the airfare and hotel accommodations for two nights for the winner!
1 Yes, He's A Philanthropist. But That Does Not Excuse His Alleged Misconduct.
Just like Angelina Jolie and Keanu Reeves, it seems that Franco also found his purpose as a philanthropist by helping to raise funds for several charities including 826 National, American Foundation for AIDS Research, Artists for Peace and Justice, DonorsChoose.org, Free Arts NYC, Hillsides, and Communities in School. The charities he is supporting tackles different issues that need to be addressed immediately, such as children with sickness, youth facing societal conflicts, and children's rights.
Why is he supporting these movements and charities? Franco explained that helping people is the key to life and the key to happiness. Kirsten Dunst, the actress who played the role Mary Jane in the "Spider-Man Trilogy", is the one who influenced Franco in committing his life to charity work.
And like the charities mentioned above, he also uses his painting and art to support his causes. He has also been honored with awards for his humanitarian activities.