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'Pineapple Express': On the Set with James Franco

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Jul 30, 2008 | 11:49am EDT

While visiting the set of Pineapple Express, Hollywood.com had the chance to pull up a folding chair alongside James Franco just outside the set for a late night chat about the new pot comedy.

It turns out Franco, who spent the past few years starring in the Spiderman trilogy and attending grad school, was ready to return to his comedic roots. He says even Judd Apatow (Pineapple producer) took notice, telling him, “I miss the funny Franco.”

Now, the wait is almost over as Franco takes his role as Saul the drug dealer to the big screen - long hair, stoner garb and all. 

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HW: What’s going on with the hair?

James Franco:

I guess I haven’t really done much comedy since Freaks and Geeks and this role is very different than anything I’ve done. I think the hair is really a way to push me even farther out of just what people know me for. I don’t really know what people know me for.

HW: So is this your complete wardrobe for the film?

JF:

It’s very comfortable if anything. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Guatemalan pants. I have one wardrobe change in the whole movie so we tried a variety of things. Some sweatpants. The idea was to have something that I would wear lounging around the house and then he comes over and I have to leave immediately so I don’t get the chance to change. I don’t know anybody that would wear Guatemalan pants. I hear Woody Harrelson wears them. I don’t love them. But, after the test they were the most interesting. I wanted to wear hotel slippers. You know how people take those from hotels? But, there’s so much action in this that it would have been a hindrance because they would have fallen off.

HW: Can you describe your shirt to our readers?

JF:

This is actually a David Gordon Green design. There is a I think it’s supposed to be a Great White shark although it’s a bit shaded so it’s black. There’s a kitten in it that looks serene. It’s almost like it’s sleeping. I think the shark is not eating it, but carrying it to safety. The kitten was left out in the ocean and this shark decided to put it in it’s mouth and carry it to shore.

HW: What was it like working with Seth Rogen again after all of this time?

JF:

It’s great. As far as I know, Freaks and Geeks was his first professional job. He was funny on that, but you look back to episodes and they really didn’t give him a ton to do. Off camera he was always cracking us up…I think we’re a great team. Other people have said, ‘Oh this movie kind of reminds me of the action buddy movies that I watched when I was younger like Midnight Run. But, I see it more like an Abbot and Costello kind of thing. I keep telling him that we should take these characters and do other movies like Saul and Dale meet like the equivalent of Frankenstein or maybe like the Saw guy.

HW: Is it true you and Seth actually switched roles?

JF:

They had been doing readings of this for years and I think Seth always read Saul. Then they gave it to me and they didn’t tell me what role I was playing. I assumed I was playing Dale. I thought it was really funny, but I thought, ‘Oh man. I really like Saul. He’s got all the funny lines.’ So we met after I read it and then it became clear they wanted me to play Saul, I was surprised but I was like perfect. So that’s the best of both worlds. I think it worked out great. I would say he’s the more feminine role in the relationship.

HW: Aren’t you the one who wants to be his really good friend and he isn’t having it?

JF:

Exactly. It’s kind of a love story.

HW: You almost get that kind of homoerotic feeling.

JF:

There’s a little bit of that. I’d say a lot of that is David Gordon Green’s influence. It’s definitely about two people coming together. A relationship between a dealer and his client. I don’t know from experience. The last time I bought pot was in high school, but I’ve been told that a lot of times dealers can be weird or it’s kind of a weird relationship. So at the beginning, he doesn’t want anything. He just wants my product and wants to get out of there. I’m kind of a lonely guy. I really like him. We get thrown into this situation together and of course throughout the movie, we become a lot closer.

Check out the rest of our Pineapple Express set visit coverage!

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