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Spider-Man 3 - James Franco interview

Spider-Man 3. (c) 2007 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Interview by Martyn Palmer

JAMES Franco talks about returning to the role of Harry Osborn in Spider-Man 3 and the new challenges it brought – both emotionally and physically…

You’re much more involved in the thick of the action in Spider-Man 3. How was that?
In the first two films, I was in a couple of action scenes but I didn’t do much compared to the third one. It was a new experience, that’s for sure. Tobey seemed so exhausted after the first and second films and now I can see why.

The action scenes just take so much longer to shoot than a dramatic scene. I put a lot of care into a dramatic scene but when you are doing action it combines CG elements with live action elements with green screen. So it can be very meticulous and take a very long time. I was happy to do it because I know what the result is. But sometimes it can be easy to forget what the result is when you’re doing one punch and it takes four hours to shoot. I think Topher [Grace, who plays Venom] said it’s about the result and not the journey. I’m grateful that Sam was directing this film because he really can make anything enjoyable and fun because of his personality and the way he brings everyone together.

And yet there’s still a lot of dramatic work to be done because there’s still plenty of emphasis on the emotional impact of the story…
It’s the same approach that Sam had on the first one. He approached this comic book genre in a unique way. He wanted to make it realistic and he wanted the characters and the drama of the characters to have just as much weight as the fantastic action sequences. One of the biggest compliments I heard about part two was that it would have been a good movie without the action. I don’t know if that is completely true but I think that it reveals that the story is compelling on its own.

Your character, Harry, is at the centre of a sort of love triangle between himself, Peter Parker and MJ, as well as harbouring this ill-feeling towards Spider-Man. Was that part of the appeal of the challenge before you this time?
As far as the story in part 3, the old triangle between Harry, MJ and Peter comes up again. One of the cool things that Sam does is that he creates themes for each film and the theme really runs through the characters.

In the second film, it seemed to me the theme was: “What happens to someone if you don’t have love?” You see what happens to Harry when he doesn’t have his father. You see its effect on MJ and Peter, when they don’t have each other and on Dr Octavius (Alfred Molina) when he loses his wife. I think in the third film it is about redemption and forgiveness. All the characters for one reason or another are pushed to do things that they regret and then it’s a question of who can come back and forgive and get past it.

Maybe some do, maybe some don’t. I think in this story things are finally going right for Peter and he suffers from pride. Harry, as always, has issues that have built up in the past two films and they find expression in this film. His dilemma is that he is fighting for his father’s honour and he is trying to be the person he believes his father wanted him to be. But he is also struggling with the fact that Peter is his best friend and MJ is his friend too, and how can he resolve those two things.

MJ is also struggling because the man she loves is changing and how can she live with someone like that? So the triangle kind of raises its head again…

What has being a part of this franchise meant to you personally?And would you consider coming back for more?
The experience has become more rewarding. I do feel that when you contribute more you can take more pride in the product. Definitely. I’ve really had such a good time on these movies. I guess there are a few reasons – the people involved and I’m very proud of the results. So if they did another one, for me it would depend on whether everyone came back.

I gather you’ve recently returned to UCLA to complete your English degree. How is juggling education with work?
About a year and a half ago I just came to a point where I wanted a little bit more to my life. I always regretted leaving and I had always enjoyed writing and literature, so I decided to go back. I’d been writing since I’d left and I’d written a bunch of screenplays with a partner, but I wanted more structure. So I went back and I’ve been back for almost a year and a half and it’s been great. I’m really enjoying it.

Read our review of Spider-Man 3

  1. James is so fine!

    Melly    May 8    #
  2. James is very multifaceted. I really liked his interview.

    natasha    May 12    #
  3. James has been blessed to be a part of something as awsome as this! I pray that God blesses him through everything he does!

    Leanna    May 14    #