James Franco

During the late 1990s, actor James Franco broke out as one of the era's go-to guys by playing sports heroes, disaffected pretty boys and rebellious burnouts with equal appeal. His career began in the brilliant-but-canceled television comedy series "Freaks and Geeks" (NBC, 1999-2000), and while Franco's portrayal of a moody dreamboat on the series won him a legion of love-struck teenage fans, it was his impressive portrayal of legendary Hollywood bad boy James Dean in the made-for-cable biopic "James Dean" (TNT, 2001) that cemented Franco's status as a serious actor. Keeping one foot in commercial waters, Franco landed a high-profile supporting role as the son of the villainous Green Goblin in director Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" film series (2002, 2004, 2007), as Peter Parker's best friend and romantic rival, Harry Osborne. Franco's Independent Spirit Award-nominated turn as a gay civil rights activist in the biopic "Milk" (2008) and his popularity in the stoner buddy comedy "Pineapple Express" (2008) confirmed his versatility, as well as his appeal with both mainstream and art house audiences. Although his trip to Port Charles as a recurring villain on the soap "General Hospital" (ABC, 1963- ) was a head-scratcher, it just solidified Franco's reputation as a guy up for anything. His career really took off with his Oscar-nominated performance as trapped mountain climber Aron Ralston in the gut-wrenching "127 Hours" (2010), though his co-hosting duties with Anne Hathaway during those same Academy Awards were critically derided. The critically praised "The Disaster Artist" (2017), which Franco directed and produced as well as starred in, was another success for him. Based on the true story of the production of Tommy Wiseau's infamous cult classic "The Room" (2003), the film garnered widespread critical and audience praise, and was widely recognized during the 2017-2018 awards season. Unafraid to veer between high-profile popcorn flicks like "Oz the Great and Powerful" (2013) and quirky arthouse fare, much of which he wrote and/or directed himself, Franco remained one of Hollywood's more enigmatic, yet appealing, young actors.