Home Celebrity James Franco Got a ‘D’ in NYU Acting Class

It’s not easy being James Franco.

He’s getting rave reviews for his roles in “Howl” and “127 Hours” this fall, and is headed to an Oscar nomination for the latter. The former opens this weekend, and it’s quality work from this multi-tasking actor.

But Franco did reveal to me last night–and we’ll have a video interview later–that he got a D in his acting class at NYU. He was there taking film classes. Now he’s up at Yale working on his PhD.

But holy moley-what  happened?

“I did the work, I did well in everything else,” he said. But the acting teacher probably felt uncomfortable with a working well known actor in his class. It was not the norm. Also, as Franco pointed out, he missed a lot of classes because he was shooting “127 Hours.”

The low grade did not deter Yale from accepting him for their graduate writing program. How’s it going? “I have a class in Walt Whitman with a massive amount of reading.” He’s up to the challenge, he says.

At the premiere for “Howl,” I also ran into Oscilloscope Pictures owner and sometime Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. He showed us pictures on his IPhone of learning to ride a horse in Kentucky. Actor Edward Norton stopped by to say hello, as did Lola Schnabel–daughter of Julian–with friend Annabelle Jones, daughter of Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Ann Dexter Jones (she’s also the sister of Charlotte, Samantha, and Mark Ronson).

Anyway, more on Franco in our Showbiz411 Video, including memories of his summer job at Lockheed aircraft in Palo Alto, California.

Oh yeah and one more thing: since the famous picture that was snapped of him sleeping at a Columbia University guest lecture, he’s deathly afraid of nodding out in public again. “I fell asleep on the train today,” he said, “and I was worried the guy sitting next to me had his IPhone pointed in a funny way. If you see a picture of me sleeping on the Acela, you’ll know where it came from.”

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
23 replies to this post
  1. “Um ‘Franco’, maybe, just ‘maybe,’ you got a ‘D’ because you didn’t even know the subject of the course that you got a ‘D’ in? It was a ‘Directing the Actor’ course NOT an ‘Acting’ course as you say. And if you hadn’t missed so many classes, ‘maybe.’ you would have known the basic subject matter of the course, and that would have saved everyone all this noise? But then that wouldn’t have gotten you any attention, right?” – Onceinalifetime

  2. James was on letterman and didn’t talk about yale at all. If he is here in my city hope I run into him. He’s sexy and talented. The pix of him sleeping is funny. I am sure it was boring and he is busy wth working a lot.

  3. You have to admire James Franco for going on the train to classes. As for getting a D for acting class, it just seems funny that a guy who’s being feted as Best Lead Actor at TIFF etc, even revealed this. Sweet.

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