Recognized as a versatile young thespian with formidable talent in making convincing portrayal of various film characters, James Edward Franco has really penned his name solidly in Hollywood to strive as one of its outstanding stars of the early 21st century. A native of Palo Alto, California who was born on April 19, 1978 to Doug Franco and Betsy Levine Verne, he spent the first eighteen years of his life growing up in this city before headed for Los Angeles to study English at UCLA following his graduation from Palo Alto High School in 1996. Nevertheless, it later occurred to this striking dark-haired guy that the fondness for acting he had developed earlier was really hard to resist so that he decided to leave the university and thus embarked on the journey to accomplish his dream of becoming a fine actor.
Honed his acting skills intensely for 15 months at Robert Carnegie's Playhouse West in North Hollywood, James afterwards earned a supporting role in a TV miniseries of "To Serve and Protect" (1999) and appeared briefly in Drew Barrymore's vehicle, "Never Been Kissed" which also came up in the same year. His name began to make sound when he was included in the regular cast of NBC's series "Freaks and Geeks" (1999-2000) as the show surprisingly gathered critical acclaim along with tremendous fans all around the country despite its short running. With this growing popularity, he then managed to acquire bigger roles in his 2000 big screen features, such as "If Tomorrow Comes" and "Whatever It Takes" in which he first met his girlfriend, Marla Sokoloff, whom he dated for four years.
James' career received huge boost after he made a brilliant portrayal of the title character in TNT's TV movie biopic, "James Dean" (2001). Not only obtained rave reviews from the critics, he also was amazingly nominated at three prestigious awards of Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Golden Globe Awards in the following year. Took home the Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television honor at the latter event, his status grew even higher when his next project, "Spider-Man" (2002), soared to garner fantastic result of more than $821 million income across the globe.
Once again gained critics' accolades for his excellent performance alongside Robert De Niro in "City By the Sea" (2002), James smoothly continued his involvement in the film features, starring in "Mean People Suck" and "The Company", which both came up by 2003. Reunited with the "Spider-Man" cast to film its second installment, "Spider-Man 2" (2004), the brown-eyed actor also marked his debut as writer, producer, and director in the same year with the release of "The Ape", followed by another writing and directing work in "Fool's Gold" (2005). Joined Benjamin Bratt to film action war movie of "The Great Raid" (2005), his star kept shining radiantly by 2006 for he appeared in at least four pictures of "Annapolis", "Tristan & Isolde", "Flyboys", and "he Dead Girl."
Greater success hit James upon entering 2007 when more of his films came up continuously during the course of the year. The first of these was mega box office hit "Spider-Man 3" which remarkably raked in about $890.9 million worldwide followed by "An American Crime" and "In the Valley of Elah" alongside Hollywood's A-listers like Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, and Susan Sarandon. 2008 still saw him fare steadily well as he has already been cast to star in "Camille", "Nights in Rodanthe", "Pineapple Express", and "The Hive" besides once again taking helming duties in an action feature entitled "Red Leaves."