Thirty-two-year-old actor Dave Franco boasts a resume chalked full of bro comedies. From 21 Jump Street to Neighbors (and their respective sequels), Franco is known by many as the dude who, more often than not, has one arm glued to a red Solo cup, and the other slung around an attractive woman. But Franco is nothing like his bro characters. In fact, Dave Franco's hidden passion is one that may force you to examine the actor in a whole new light.
Sitting down at the Lego Ninjago Movie (appropriately held at the Legoland Hotel in Carlsbad, California), Franco admits, animatedly, that his interests stem far beyond the reaches of raunchy comedies. In fact, Franco hopes to star in more dramas (like the The Disaster Artist, a based-on-a-true-story film he recently completed with brother James). He's also interested in writing, and has been since he was a teen, when he would pen poetry during his high school lunch hour.
"I was a really shy kid, but I started to get into writing, and that helped me a lot," he explains, hands crossed. "I took an independent studies course where I would write poetry every week on my own, and then I would meet up with my teacher and we would go over it during lunch once a week."
But his weekly absence from lunch — to pursue poetry, nonetheless — was something his friends didn't understand. Franco explains, "My friends were taken aback because lunch is an important time when you're a kid. They were like, 'Wait, you're taking lunch off to go over the poetry you've written with Mr. Schulenberg?" he jokes.
But Franco speaks, well, frankly, when he says that writing was what got him through that shy phase in his life. "I genuinely just love to write, and it helped me... I became more comfortable in who I was, I started to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. In a weird, cheesy way it helped me get in touch with my emotions."
Yet this isn't to say he was (or is) necessarily good at his poetic craft. Like everyone starting out, he struggled, rather comically. "I remember a poem I wrote that was extremely pretentious. The title was 'music' but it was spelled, musiq,' with a 'Q' at the end. I thought I was being very deep and controversial," he says. "My technique for writing poetry was that I would write everything in very simple language, then I would take a thesaurus and go word by word and replace every word with the most flowery version of that word, so it ended up being a bunch of nonsense on the page."
Franco, who is now years out of school and has since evolved from his "flowery" writing stage, attributes his initial lack of depth and sense in his poetry to his simple inexperience as a human. He offers this example: "When Justin Bieber was just starting out his music wasn't that great because he hadn't experienced that much. And now, I hate to admit, but his new album was f*cking great. He's gone through a lot since he was a kid and he has a lot more to sing about now."
Luckily now, Franco — who graduated from school, appeared in more than a dozen films, and recently wed Alison Brie — has also lived many more years of his life. "I still write a lot. I write short stories, short films, and feature films. Writing is a big part of my life," he offers.
So the next time you see Franco on the big screen, in, say, Neighbors 3 (no, that's not a real thing — yet), just remember that the frat boy pounding PBR uses that same fist to pen (albeit occasionally flowery) poems — because there's more to Franco than his ability to fist bump.