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James Franco talks getting into character for 'Spring Breakers'

March 15, 2013|By Meredith Blake

The Internet is already a-chatter over James Franco’s new movie, “Spring Breakers,” thanks in no small part to the presence of Disney girls gone wild Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens. But let’s not forget, this is also the film that required everyone’s favorite scruffily handsome movie star/perpetual grad student to transform into a dead ringer for Kevin Federline.

Ever the multi-tasker, Franco paid a visit to “The Tonight Show” Thursday to plug “Spring Breakers” less than a week after the release of his other current project, “Oz the Great and Powerful.”  Jay Leno asked the actor about the tone of the movie, which he described (somewhat oddly) as a “... serious film.”

Franco was slightly more eloquent. “It’s sort of a critique of pop culture, but it’s also sort of a celebration of all of that,” he said.

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For the part, Franco sported a grill and cornrows – a look that helped him blend in with some of the other characters on location in St. Petersburg, Fla. As he explained, director Harmony Korine is a fan of filming in real locations – think strip clubs and pool halls -- using whoever happens to be there as extras.  

“Every once in a while somebody’d say, ‘Oh yeah, the guy from ‘Spider-Man,’” he said. Mostly, though, they’d compliment him on his shiny grill (alas, a fake).

Asked whether it was ever scary filming in these rough locations, Franco confessed that the experience did mess with his head: Occasionally, he’ d forget that the “extras” he was hanging out with were the real deal, as were their guns.

Franco also denied the rumor that he stayed in character throughout the entire production, but admitted that his ever-present cornrows made it hard to completely be himself.

“I’d try to be nice and smile at people and I’d get these weird looks,” he said. “Then I’d remember I had the look on.”

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