James Franco rose to prominence in the early 2000s as a result of his roles in films such as Spider-Man. Aside from performing, he has dabbled in other fields. He directed an off-Broadway production and wrote a collection of short tales.
Franco can make things tough for others on set. He appeared in the 2006 film Annapolis, directed by Justin Lin, and said that he hated the film and the time he spent making it (via Huffington Post). Tyrese Gibson, Franco’s co-star in the film, did not join Franco in criticizing it. Instead, Gibson complained about Franco’s method acting, disclosing a really interesting tidbit regarding the making of Annapolis.
In the movie, the characters of James Franco and Tyrese Gibson cross paths at Naval Academy on a personal and professional level, ultimately leading to a fight in the ring. It was about as dull as it sounds, and the two had some troubles when the cameras weren’t rolling.
Filming has a lot of complexities, particularly when it comes to movies that involve a lot of physicality and stunts that other movies don’t. The actors had to become used to mixing it up in a boxing ring for Annapolis, which is a challenging task. In most cases, all parties concerned strive to work together, but that was not the case in Annapolis.
According to Vanity Fair, the two performers had quite different approaches to their physical encounters.
Franco seems to have used method acting in his combat sequences. Gibson said in an interview that his co-star was really striking him. He informed Franco that they were only practicing and that he should take it easy on the punches.
In a 2007 interview with Elle, Gibson said, “James Franco is a Method actor. I respect Method actors, but he never snapped out of character. Whenever we’d have to get in the ring for boxing scenes, and even during practice, the dude was full-on hitting me.” He added, “I was always like, ‘James, lighten up, man. We’re just practicing.’ He never lightened up.” Yikes.
According to UPROXX, this enraged Gibson to the point that he said in a 2007 interview, “I never want to work with him again, and I’m sure he feels the same way. It felt very personal.”
That’s right, rather than being relaxed and welcoming to his co-star, Franco went out of his way to actually throw hands with Gibson. It was going to be challenging enough to make this film, but hearing that Franco was really tossing explosives at Tyrese is absurd.
Franco subsequently expressed regret for his actions, telling GQ in 2008, “I was probably a jerk. I was not purposely cruel to him, but I was probably so wrapped up in my performance that I was not as friendly as I could have been. This is such a stupid issue… when I’m asked about it in the press it makes it seem as if it’s still an issue. I think Tyrese is a sweet guy.”
He has blamed himself for getting too invested in his character in the film, but Gibson has indicated through Hollywood.com that it was not a personal matter for him.
“Maybe I was too into that role. I don’t try to be mean to anybody on a movie,” Franco said. “In the past, I’ve tended to isolate (myself), and maybe people take that as me being rude or me not liking them, but it’s really a way for me to stay in my character.”
Gibson spoke on the matter again a year after the film’s premiere. In an interview, he said that he would never want to work with Franco again, and he was certain that the sentiment was shared. It had a particular touch for him.