By Tara Fowler
The psychedelic “Oz the Great and Powerful” arrives in theaters this weekend. Starring the one and only James Franco, the “Wizard of Oz” prequel centers on a small-town magician who winds up in the mythical land after his hot-air balloon gets sucked into a tornado (isn’t that always the case?). There, he’s confronted with three witches (Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz), one of whom is up to no good.
In real-life, Franco’s no magician (though he did many of his own tricks in the film), but he is a mathematician, having interned at Lockheed Martin, an aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company, before he took up acting (among many others pastimes). What else might you not have known about Franco? Check out our list below:
1) For Franco, going to bed means admitting failure: James’s brother Dave (who’s also an actor, having appeared in films such as “Warm Bodies” and “21 Jump Street”) took over his older sibling’s bedroom in their shared apartment after James kept sleeping on the couch, passing out when he physically could not stay awake another moment.
2) Franco used to shoplift cologne: And re-sold it to kids at school, proving himself to be quite the young entrepreneur. “I don’t know how it happened but somehow I got into stealing cologne,” he told Jay Leno in 2008. “[One person] would chat up the cologne attendant and then the other person would swipe the bottle.” Ironically, he’s the face of the cologne Gucci by Gucci.
3) He is turned on by rabbits: “Sometimes rabbits, like, turn me on. I don’t know why,” he told James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio while discussing sexual quirks.
4) That picture of him sleeping in class? He wasn’t even in class: “It was this extra thing, it was like 10 at night, it wasn’t a class,” Franco told Showbiz 411 in 2010. “It was me just going because I love art. It wasn’t because he was boring or anything, it was just that it was late and it was a lecture at 10 o’clock.”
5) He’s never watched any of his brother’s TV shows or movies: His defense? He’s too busy.
6) When he was 4, he burst into tears after learning that people die: As he told his mother Betsy, he has too much to do to die.
7) Franco relies on his personal assistant to feed him: “I guarantee you he would not eat unless I fed him,” his assistant Dana Morgan told New York Magazine in 2010. “He’ll do the hand-to-mouth part, but I definitely bring it to his hands. It’s not that he’s helpless. It’s just that he would not take the time to find food. He has the luxury of not having to worry about it.”
8) Ever the Method actor, Franco actually got his pilot license for 2006’s “Flyboys”: And jeopardized his life in the process. “People do like to criticize me for getting caught falling asleep in class,” Franco told Conan O’Brien in 2011. “I actually did fall asleep piloting a plane.”