James Franco is a multi-hyphenate talent and a household name. But before he made it big, Franco fought depression and addiction in his teens.
The actor is on the cover of Out magazine's September issue, and in the interview, he talked about his past struggles.
"I have a very addictive personality," Franco told Out. "When I was a teenager, I got over certain addictions, and that's when I started acting, at age 17."
Franco turned to acting after being arrested for selling stolen fragrances, People explains. But after he started acting, that work eventually caused more problems for him.
"I really threw myself into it, and that became everything, to the point where I didn't even socialize,” Franco told Out of his acting career. "And then after, like, 10 years of that, at age 27, I realized, 'Man, I'm so depressed. On the surface, my life seems pretty good — I have a career and everything — but I feel isolated and lonely.'"
Franco also revealed that learning surfing and hip-hop dancing have helped him achieve balance.
"It's a kind of therapy for me. I've started a new chapter of my life," Franco told Out of his hobbies. "I was very work-addicted, and addicted to other things — not substances, I got over that a long time ago — but I've recently changed my life, and this is part of my therapy."
These days, Franco enjoys time behind the camera as a director. That's not to say he's giving up acting, though. Franco stars in the upcoming HBO series The Deuce, and he also directed two episodes of the series.
One of those episodes he directed also features sex scenes with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Franco explained to Out. He called the experience of directing the scenes "interesting."
"Maggie Gyllenhaal, in addition to being just an incredible actress, is fearless, and she really led the charge with how she handled the sex scenes and how she handled herself, and really set the template for everyone else," Franco told Out about his new series. "If I didn't have someone like her, I think it would have been really, really hard to engage in those scenes, but she just made it so easy. She's fearless."
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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