SPEC Connaissance: James Franco Edition

Author: Stephanie Y., C08

Thanks to SPEC Connaissance and my PennCard, I spent yesterday afternoon sitting in the 4th row of Irvine Auditorium listening to James Franco talk about his acting and academic careers. Each year, SPEC Connaissance brings an array of public figures to address the Penn community. Past speakers include Anderson Cooper, Madeline Albright, Henry Kissinger, Whoopi Goldberg, Peyton Manning (I attended), Billy Joel, Ben & Jerry, and Ellen DeGeneres (wait – when did ELLEN come? How did I miss that?) Tickets to the James Franco event were only available to PennCard holders. Hooray for working at Penn!

James Franco in Irvine Auditorium (photo credit: The Daily Pennsylvanian)

In addition to being a huge Hollywood star, Franco holds multiple advanced degrees (from UCLA, Columbia University, and New York University), and he is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Yale University. I have always been impressed with his CV, but I still wondered whether he was admitted into these programs based on merit or his name. During the interview, Franco admitted he receives special treatment for being famous, but the talk confirmed that he is brilliant, and he can certainly hold his own in an academic setting. The man is a true scholar in addition to being a super dreamy Hollywood star.

Here are a few fun facts from the talk:

  • Franco watches the Twilight movies because he is interested in why teenage murder is ok if the teenagers are vampires (good point…)
  • He spent 3-4 months cooped up in his apartment, reading about James Dean, isolated from his friends and family, and smoked two packs of cigarettes per day to transform into his character.
  • There are three movies he regrets making because he was disappointed with the final product (hmm three movies? Spiderman series, anyone?)

Thanks, SPEC Connaissance! I can’t wait to see who you bring to Penn next time.


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Filed under Alumni Programming, Alumnni Education, Campus Life, Stephanie Y., The Arts, The Arts at Penn

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