James Franco: Daniel Desario
James Franco got his start as burnout high schooler Daniel Desario on Freaks and Geeks, but he didn’t land his breakthrough role until the following year, when he played James Dean in a TV movie and won a Golden Globe Award for his spot-on performance. He then hit pay dirt in 2002 as Harry Osborn in Spider-Man. That led to starring roles in The Great Raid, Tristan + Isolde, Flyboys, and In the Valley of Elah — as well as in the second and third Spider-Man movies. He had a big year in 2008 with Pineapple Express and Milk, and another in 2010 with a cameo on 30 Rock and the movies Howl, Date Night, Eat Pray Love, and 127 Hours. That last movie scored James a 2011 Oscar nomination, proving he can play more than just a hot stoner.
In a bizarre, self-mocking departure from his usual high-brow work, James recurred on the ABC soap General Hospital from 2009 to early 2012 as Franco, a modern artist/serial killer. Seriously.
In the next couple years look for him to play C.K. Williams in Tar, Hugh Hefner in Lovelace, and Oz in Oz: The Great and Powerful. He also wrote the screenplays for 2013’s Child of God and Holy Land.
When not acting, James is a school-obsessed writer, filmmaker, and painter. A graduate of UCLA and Columbia University’s MFA writing program, James also earned a PhD degree in English from Yale. He had expressed interest in enrolling in a doctoral program in literature and creative writing at the University of Houston, but those plans seem to be on hold. If all that education isn't impressive enough, he’s a published author as well: Scribner released his collection of short stories, Palo Alto: Stories, in 2010.
As for his love life (that’s what you’re really interested in, areweright?), James dated his Whatever It Takes co-star Marla Sokoloff for five years before moving on to The Help actress Ahna O’Reilly, whom he romanced from 2006 to 2011.