August 3, 2008
Pineapple Express, in which he and Seth Rogen costar as a couple of hapless stoners whose buzz gets harshed when one of them witnesses a cop committing a murder. ''The whole idea of the movie comes from Brad Pitt's stoner character in True Romance,'' explains producer Judd Apatow, referring to that star's glassy-eyed walk-on in the 1993 Tony Scott crime drama. ''I thought it would be funny to make a movie in which you follow that character out of his apartment and watch him get chased by bad guys.''
It's Franco's first leading role in a major studio comedy - also a step up for director David Gordon Green (Snow Angels, Undertow) - as well as a huge attention-grabbing stretch for an actor best known for playing Peter Parker's playboy pal. Franco dives so deeply into the character, burying his chiseled features under a mop of greasy hair and blinking into the camera in a heavy-lidded daze, some fans might have trouble recognizing him. ''It really is amazing, isn't it?'' marvels Rogen. ''You see him in the spider-man movies wearing $3,000 suits and he's a total heartthrob. But we put him in a grungy wig and some baggy clothes and he's a whole different guy. It's almost like he isn't even handsome in this movie.'' But I am sure he will be a great new addition to Hollywood!