The Sliding Scale of James Franco's Creepy Mustaches

While there is almost never a time that James Franco is not occupying some corner of the entertainment news circuit — with a new movie, documentary, book of poems, commercial about shoes, or proclamation that he will be living underground for a year to better empathize with our vole brethren — the multihyphenate’s media presence has been especially dominating of late, all thanks to the international calamity surrounding his would-be new film The Interview . On top of that, Franco has another movie that’s (actually) coming out soon: True Story, which has just released its first trailer… in which our beloved Franco looks decidedly creepy. Especially with that ‘stache.

What happened to Franco and Seth Rogen’s movie is an unfortunate turn of events, and I empathize with the professional and artistic frustrations that the duo must be enduring right about now. That said, I feel inclined to focus on the larger issue at hand: Franco’s ubiquitous creepy ‘stache. A ‘stache that has followed him from film to film, employing varying degrees of creepiness. No, this is not a phenomenon unique to True Story, it’s something we’ve seen time and time again from the actor.

Don’t believe me? Well, see for yourself! A full rundown of Franco’s movies, channeling the evolution from clean-shaving good guy to scruffy scoundrel, rating each plateau of creepiness along the way. Because this is the real Franco news we should be focusing on (…no, it is very much not).

Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures


STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: appropriately kemptCREEP FACTOR: None

Image: Buena Vista Pictures

'The Company'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: Regrettably noodlyCREEP FACTOR: Microscopic

Image: Sony Pictures Classics

'Freaks and Geeks'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: Appropriately early ’80s-yCREEP FACTOR: Minimal

Image: NBC

'Whatever It Takes'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: We call that “the Rider Strong”CREEP FACTOR: Minimal

Image: Columbia Pictures


STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: Regrettably poofyCREEP FACTOR: Minimal

Image: Samuel Goldwyn Films

'City by the Sea'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: Regrettably animalisticCREEP FACTOR: Rising

Image: Warner Bros.

'Your Highness'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: RegrettableCREEP FACTOR: Rising

Image: Universal Pictures

'Great Raid'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: Regrettably verticalCREEP FACTOR: Approaching creepiness

Image: Miramax


STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: Regrettably moistADDITIONAL NOTES: Points off for the old tree-leanCREEP FACTOR: Creepy

Image: MGM


STATUS: Pre-‘stache (had he one, he’d be twirling it menacingly here)HAIR: Just look at those sideburns… well, that sideburnCREEP FACTOR: Creepy

Image: Tribeca Film

'Eay Pray Love'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: GuitaryCREEP FACTOR: Creepy

Image: Columbia Pictures


STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: Regrettably partedCREEP FACTOR: Creepy

Image: Millennium Films/RADiUS-TWC

'Deuces Wild'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: Regrettably TravoltianCREEP FACTOR: Increasingly creepy

Images: MGM

'Tristan + Isolde'

STATUS: Pre-‘stacheHAIR: There’s so much of it!CREEP FACTOR: Acceleratingly creepy

Image: 20th Century Fox

'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'

STATUS: The beginnings of shadowHAIR: His or the chimp’s?CREEP FACTOR: Back down to sub-creepy

Image: 20th Century Fox

'Palo Alto'

STATUS: The beginnings of stubbleHAIR: NondescriptCREEP FACTOR: Approaching creepy again

Image: Tribeca Film

'30 Rock'

STATUS: StubbleHAIR: Deliberate CREEP FACTOR: Just shy of creepy (the silliness helps to leaven some of the creepery)

Image: NBC

'127 Hours'

STATUS: StubbleHAIR: Subjugated CREEP FACTOR: Mere inches from creepy

Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures/Pathé International/Warner Bros. Pictures

'The Iceman'

STATUS: And we have a ‘stache!HAIR: Unkempt CREEP FACTOR: Splitting rent with creepy

Image: Millennium Films

'The Broken Tower'

STATUS: Full ‘stacheHAIR: Gomez Addamsian CREEP FACTOR: You can practically hear creepy breathing from where he’s standing

Image: RabbitBandini Productions

'This Is the End'

STATUS: Full ‘stache, plus scruffHAIR: Grimy CREEP FACTOR: “Hi, I’m James Franco in this picture. Have you met my fraternal twin brother, Creepy?”

Image: Columbia Pictures


STATUS: Full ‘stacheHAIR: A little too kemptCREEP FACTOR: Creepy (the tilted leer doesn’t help)

Image: Focus Features

'Pineapple Express'

STATUS: ‘Stache ‘n’ scruffHAIR: Nauseating CREEP FACTOR: Creepy (and dirty)

Image: Columbia Pictures

'Date Night'

STATUS: ‘Stache ‘n’ scruffHAIR: Mulletacious CREEP FACTOR: Oh come on

Image: 20th Century Fox

'The Color of Time'

STATUS: ‘Stache ‘n’ scruffHAIR: Suburban CREEP FACTOR: Oddly so

Image: Starz Digital Media

'About Cherry'

STATUS: Full ‘stache/chin sweaterHAIR: Of the just-woke-up variety CREEP FACTOR: Creepy

Image: IFC Films

'As I Lay Dying'

STATUS: Full ‘stache/chin sweaterHAIR: Labyrinthian CREEP FACTOR: Hauntingly creepy

Image: Millennium Films

'Oz the Great and Powerful'

STATUS: That’s some old timey swindler facial groomingHAIR: UnknownCREEP FACTOR: Creepy

Image: Disney

'Interior. Leather Bar.'

STATUS: GoateeHAIR: ProtrudingCREEP FACTOR: Creepy!

Image: Strand Releasing/Peccadillo Pictures


STATUS: UnavoidableHAIR: The ‘stache is all we can really take CREEP FACTOR: Creepy!

Image: Open Road Films


STATUS: Full beardHAIR: PensiveCREEP FACTOR: You know what? This actually isn’t that creepy. Maybe we were wrong about this Franco guy…

Image: Oscilloscope Laboratories

'Spring Breakers'

…oh, good lord.

STATUS: UncategorizableHAIR: FloridianCREEP FACTOR: And we have a winner

Image: A24