In last summer's Spider-Man, James Franco played Harry, the troubled son of wealthy industrialist Nathan Osbourne aka the Green Goblin aka Willem Dafoe. Harry's back — and nastier than before — in Spider-Man 2. But die-hard fans of the Spidey comic books are scratching their heads. Isn't the Osbourne heir supposed to avenge his late, insane father by following in Gobby's footsteps? On that scary flying sled, we mean.
"There's some confusion," Franco says. "There's a Hobgoblin in the comics who isn't Harry Osbourne. The second Green Goblin is Harry Osbourne. And there's been a setup since the first film for my character [to be evil]. But we had the Green Goblin in the first film, and I really don't think it's smart to repeat that."
So whatever they have Franco doing in Spider-Man 3, he says, "It's gonna be different. I don't think I'll fly."
The 26-year-old Franco — a Golden Globe winner for TNT's 2001 James Dean biopic — is definitely one of those broody, "take-me-seriously" young actors. So we can tell that acting in popcorn movies (let alone doing press interviews for them) is a little embarrassing for him. Still, he admits there's an upside — the fat paychecks!
"This year, I directed two low-budget feature films called The Ape and Fool's Gold," he says proudly. "They're based on two short plays I wrote with my partner Merriweather Williams, who writes for SpongeBob SquarePants. I financed them with Spider-Man money, so there was no pressure to cast anybody [we didn't want] or get investors their money back. It was really low pressure. I loved it. I even had [some crew guys] who worked on Kevin Smith's films. It's great being your own boss."