Movie star, conceptual artist, fiction writer, grad student, cipher—he’s turned a Hollywood career into an elaborate piece of performance art. But does it mean anything? A critical investigation, with bathroom break.
I was looking at Franco on Wikipedia last year sometime, probably while watching Pineapple Express, when I first read about his academic endeavors. The short version is that he’s in several graduate programs, pursuing a PhD at Yale, and has plans to earn a second PhD from the University of Houston—on top of his regular acting career, mind you. I can’t read that list without wondering why I can’t manage to get more done in a given weekend.
Granted, this may not be as impressive as it sounds. Last month, one of his professors sued NYU, alleging that he was fired for giving Franco a D in a class that the actor rarely attended, and that the school had been pushing to make life easy for Franco for the publicity it would get them. Still, the New York Magazine article linked above does claim that Franco really does work his ass off and quotes several classmates and professors to back that up (that photo of Franco sleeping in lecture wasn’t in one of his classes, but in a lecture he attended on top of regular classes).
I’ve often considered pursuing a master’s degree in night classes, but I can’t imagine trying to do what he’s been doing.