We had a lot of beauty ground to cover, James Franco and I, during our 10-minute interview last night. My pre-planned questions, after all, seemed innocuous enough: What's his secret to keeping those impeccably groomed brows up to snuff? Is his skin-care routine more laid-back, like Saul from Pineapple Express, or is it more eccentric, like the Riff Raff-inspired character he played on Spring Breakers? And why, after all these years in the industry, did he decide to embark on a fragrance campaign with fashion brand, Coach? These are the things the beauty world deserves to know.
But alas, we didn't get around to any of that. Instead, we sat with Coach creative director Stuart Vevers outside on a wooden bench in New York City, snuggled under a warm blanket in the rain, while the actor-turned-artist told me about all the other stuff happening in his life right now. Like how his next gig — a starring role in an upcoming HBO series, The Deuces — is more likely to feature a "porn 'stache" than any other facial hair look. (Which makes sense: the plot is based around the porn industry in the '70s.)
Franco also admitted to being quite jealous that Geri Halliwell — as in, Ginger Spice — once trimmed Vevers' eyebrows after a few drinks at a dinner party. "Stuart suggested I trim my own because I have some strays, but I don't trust myself — especially while under the influence," Franco told me. But perhaps our biggest revelation was when the multi-hyphened star revealed how he discovered his favorite smell in the world. It happened while cooking — yet another hidden talent of his.
"I just started baking," he said. "It's my new gift. [Laughs.] Well, I only know how to make an apple crumble, but I’ve been told more than once that it was the best apple pie they've had. I would say that's my new favorite smell that’s not a fragrance. It's so good. Even Seth Rogen likes mine; he cooked me dinner and I made him a pie!"
What I was surprised to find out was that Franco — despite his trademark grin and boyish charm — was relentlessly humble. "My brother is the one who does everything right — he has good eyebrows, he takes care of his skin. He just got married, he was Homecoming King, he was voted 'best looking' in the yearbook." [Laughs.] Of course, he is referring to Dave Franco, who just married to actress Alison Brie this past March.
Luckily for him, and as I learned firsthand during our chat, things don't always have to go according to plan for them to be really, really awesome.