Howard Stern is one of the best celebrity interviewers on the planet. Whether it’s out of reverence or just his laid-back, conversational method, he seems to get actors—especially male ones—to open up and spill the beans like no other.
His latest subject was James Franco, star of the film Spring Breakers, which opened nationwide on March 22. Franco sat down on The Howard Stern Show yesterday for over one-and-a-half hours, during which the two chatted about his entire career.
From turning down sex with Lindsay Lohan to his own sex tape—and why people hate Anne Hathaway—here are the ten most shocking revelations from the interview.
On the rumor that he turned down sex with Lindsay Lohan:
“Oh gosh. Poor Lindsay. I haven’t talked to her in a while. We were friends. I met her, I think through friends, and there was a moment where I was staying at the Chateau Marmont hotel because my house in L.A. was being re-done, and she had been living there for a couple of years, and we were basically living in the same place, so I got to know her. I don’t want to, like, brag about it, and I don’t know how that got out! She was having issues even then, so you feel weird. Honestly, she was a friend. I’ve met a lot of people that are troubled and sometimes… you don’t want to do that.”
On his Oscars co-host, Anne Hathaway, and why people hate her:
Howard: “Are you guys friends?”
Franco: “We haven’t talked in a while, no.”
Howard: “Everyone sort of hates Anne Hathaway, and I've explained that I do too and I don't know even know why sometimes,” said Stern. “She's just so affected [and] actress-y that even when she wins an award she's out of breath, and then she has the standard joke that sounds like it's [been] written [for her]. And it all seems so scripted and acted.”
Franco: “I’m not… I’m not an expert on, I guess they’re called Hathahaters, but I think maybe that’s what triggers it… Anne and I made up, by the way. Let's just get that on the record.”
On whether he smokes weed, and whether he was stoned while hosting the Oscars:
“No. I’ve played several stoners, I have a way of talking where I guess it’s slow, I have very squinty eyes, so I guess it appears like I’m stoned… Anne is big, and a lot of her bits called for her to be big. I’ve learned from doing buddy comedies that you usually have a straight man and a wild-man. She was obviously going for the big part, and instinctively, I thought, ‘Let’s not have two people competing with each other and trying to overdo each other with the big-ness, I’ll go for the straight man role.’ Maybe I went too far and became the subdued and ‘stoned’ one… I knew bits had been cut that were going to give it life. There was a song I was going to perform as Cher [from Burlesque]… Judd Apatow said to them, ‘You need this bit’… and they cut it.” [After the Oscars] “I got on a red-eye that night, drove to New Haven, and went to my Medieval Manuscripts class at Yale, still in my suit from the Oscars. Everyone was very surprised to see me. And then I had a week where I just spent it at a hotel in New Haven and recovered, and I just nursed my hemorrhoid.”
On the sex tape he made after Freaks and Geeks:
“It wasn’t professional in any way. It was my girlfriend… I think that was after Freaks and Geeks. It was with my girlfriend, and we just made it. She’s an actress, and she’s married now. All right, I’ll say it because it wasn’t anything bad. It was an innocent thing we made for ourselves, and it wasn’t like Screech where we made it for public consumption. I dated an actress named Marla Sokoloff for like four years. She was on that show The Practice with Dylan McDermott. She played the secretary. We did a really bad movie together, Whatever It Takes.”
On whether he was aroused during his three-way sex scene with Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens in Spring Breakers:
“No! It’s hard… When they say ‘Action’ you go for it, and you kiss. Obviously you’re not having sex, but you kiss as you would… Unless you’re doing your porn and you need to perform in that way, it’s a different kind of mindset, I think.”
On rumors he’s dating his Spring Breakers co-star, Ashley Benson: “No. No, no. OK, so here’s the thing on-set. I had these three beautiful, young actresses, plus the director’s wife played the fourth girl. She was off-limits. Selena Gomez was dating Justin Bieber, Ashley was with Bieber’s style guide or whatever, and Vanessa [Hudgens] was with somebody else. [What’s your age cut-off?] I mean twenties are still fine, right? They’re adults, they’ve hopefully been through college… Let’s say I’m dating. I’m getting older. I would like a long-term relationship.”
On his former acting teacher’s lawsuit against him, claiming Franco got him fired from New York University for giving him a ‘D’:
“I can’t really talk about this too much because every time I talk about it, he comes back with a new lawsuit like I’m slandering him, when he’s the one who made it public. But I will make it clear: he was not asked back. He wasn’t fired, but he wasn’t asked back. He was on a three-year thing, and he wasn’t asked back after three years. He knew that he would get attention if he went to the New York Post and said, ‘I was let go because I gave James Franco a ‘D.’’ I knew I was going to get a ‘D’ in that class, because it was when I was making 127 Hours.”
On getting crap from other people in film school:
Franco: “There were moments in film school where I rubbed people the wrong way. I made a film called The Clerk’s Tale, it was based on a poem, and I thought it was really well done. There was one teacher who really didn’t like me. She was really nice to me in class, and whenever I had to present my films to the faculty for evaluations, she became a different person. I just knew after a while, ‘OK, so-and-so is going to rip it apart.’ And she ripped it apart for reasons everyone else praised it.”
Robin: “She wanted to have sex with you!”
Franco: “Maybe. Maybe. She actually did brag about having sex with people in class—not in her classes, but when we were in her class, she’d brag about people she’d slept with. And after her comments, that film got into Cannes.”
On the movies he regrets making:
“I had this mentality of, ‘Oh, you need to build a career,’ so I listened to advice that was pointing in the direction of career building. The ones I didn’t really like, although I worked very hard on them, were Tristan & Isolde, this romantic, medieval thing, and Annapolis, the boxing one, and this other one called Flyboys. They all had elements where you could think, ‘OK, yeah, it could be good.’ And it didn’t work out.”
On working the drive-thru at McDonald’s:
“That’s the lowest. They didn’t want me at the front counter. It was really my first job that I took seriously. In high school, I had a job at the golf course and I’d drive the cart at the driving range, but I’d read books while I drove the cart, so I got fired for that… for some reason we had purple hats [at McDonalds]. They didn’t have the paper hats. It must have been a California thing… I remember a phone call with my Dad where he was like, ‘Look at what you’re doing! You’re at McDonald’s!’” I only worked there about two or three months and then I got a job in a Pizza Hut commercial, but it was a Super Bowl commercial. They had some CG version of Elvis singing about the Deep Dish pizza."