James Franco's Secret To Thriving In Hollywood Is A Lot Simpler Than You Think

James Franco deserves more credit than he gets. The 37-year-old’s image may be tainted in the public eye since that whole allegedly picking-up-a-teenager-via-Instagram thing went down in 2014. But what hasn’t gotten enough attention is how he handled being exposed like a champ — in that situation— and in life. Regardless of being scrutinized, Franco continues to push through and create heartfelt projects due to the love of his art. His latest endeavor, The Adderall Diaries, is no exception. After speaking with his NYU buddy and now-colleague, director Pamela Romanowsky, I learned how Franco contiues to kill it on-and-off screen, regardless of the haters.

In a recent interview with Film Courage, Franco takes ownership of the hardships that come with being a public figure: “Often times, I don’t think that what’s projected out there is me, but I’ve come to accept that,” he said. But he has a track record of brushing off falsity after falsity, like details of the Instagram scandal and rumors regarding his sexuality. Romanowsky, who met Franco at NYU in 2008 while getting their Master’s Degree, sheds light on how her friend doesn’t get discouraged, but rather uses humility to move forward.

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“We became friends and shared taste and sense of humor and he's just the same kind of weirdo I am, so we liked each other immediately,” she explains. Aside from being two-of-a-kind weirdos, it’s James’s dedication to the craft that organically drew the director to work with him. “When James believes in something, he will make it happen. There are so many no's along the way or 'I think this is a bad idea' or 'Are you sure it's going to work?' And James makes things because he loves them. He takes adaptations that are tough... he wants to make work that he loves.”

Truly, he doesn’t give a sh*t what other people think. “He just does it,” she says. In a world of people striving to become Internet-famous, I have to admit, it’s refreshing to learn someone can be so dedicated to their passion and creating from the heart. Case in point: Keeping it real gets you places.

Another element to his success? Plain and simple: working with friends. “There’s always some popular executive producer or actor, not to say that he doesn't work with these people all the time, but he really knows how to put faith in people and he loves to work with his friends, support the people he believes in, loves to find and support new talent,” Romanowsky says. “Having that faith is a really incredible tool, just knowing there is someone who will help you make this happen and cared as much as I did. Loyalty is everything. It's risk-taking.”

As much as Romanowsky learned from Franco in the three-year process of bringing this story to life, don’t think this boss lady didn’t teach him a thing or two, also. “I think perseverance is a really big part of this process. And relentlessness, you have to stick to your guns. James like to work faster than I do,” she says. “The three years from first draft to showing the movie felt really long to him. I had to explain why I wanted to take more time. I think he finally took some value in taking the time. You need time to develop something and not be afraid to be patient and to keep trying.”

Alas, today’s takeaway: Do what you love regardless of what people think, cherish your friendships and be patient. Class adjourned.

A24; imgur