James Franco

James Franco
Chris Delmas/VISUALPress

updated 06/22/2004 at 03:00 PM EDT

originally published 06/25/2004 06:00AM

Spider-Man 2's James Franco has played his share of brooding boys, making the most of his troubled eyes in the 2001 biopic James Dean and as an outcast in TV's cult phenom Freaks and Geeks. But it's as Spidey's friend turned nemesis, Harry Osborn, that the 25-year-old actor has really scorched the screen. Franco recently took time to chat about his straight-from-the-comics character and getting a shot at Tobey Maguire.

So are you ready for the third movie now?
(Director) Sam (Raimi) is wonderful to work with. So I know that whatever happens in the third one is good.

You could be the Green Goblin, next generation.
That's what happened in the comics. But I don't think that Sam will be predictable in any way.

What was it like to slap Tobey Maguire in this sequel?
It's a little tricky. I tried to make it real, but in films you have to do it a number of times, so I don't think that they wanted a red face after the third take.

Is it fun to play someone so dark and troubled?
Yeah. I mean, why not? Acting is an art form and you want to take roles that are challenging.

How are you coping with your new celebrity?
I don't know. It hasn't changed much. I mean, it's the first time that I was confronted with more than one person coming up to me. I was in D.C. and there was some junior high field trip and it kind of spread that I was there. Other than that, it hasn't been much different except a for a few kids on the street.

We hear you're actually getting behind the camera.
I've been directing. I directed two smaller budget films this year. One is called The Ape and one is called Fool's Gold. That's just kind of been for fun. They're both based on plays that I wrote with a partner.

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Is this something you've always wanted to do?
Yeah. But I guess that the nice thing about these two is that I financed them and there's really no pressure to succeed. One is in the editing stage, and it's pretty good. I think that we can take it to festivals.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I don't know. Speed reader.
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