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James Franco is cutting back on acting to beat his midlife crisis

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 2017-10-11 Dan Rookwood, Lizzie Edmonds
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James Franco has confessed he is suffering from a “midlife crisis” that has led him to question how much he works and what he wants in life.

The Oscar-nominated actor, who will be 40 next year, said he had gone through a lot of phases of a crisis that had made him reflect on “what was meaningful”. Admitting he was a “workaholic”, the star of Freaks And Geeks, Pineapple Express, 127 Hours and The Deuce said he had lost friends and relationships over his insatiable drive but was now “cutting back”.

Speaking to ES Magazine about his milestone birthday, Franco said: “I guess it’s called a midlife crisis. I’ve certainly hit a wall this past year. It’s not like I went out and had to buy a Ferrari or anything like that. It was more about re-prioritizing and figuring out what was meaningful. I’ve been known as a guy that just did a lot of things.”

The actor, also a poet, photographer and film studies teacher, added: “I already went through a lot of phases I think people go through in their midlife crisis. So for me, it was really about cutting back and focusing, and figuring out what I really wanted to spend my time on.”

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Franco, who has 14 unfinished acting projects and lists 15 producing roles and eight as director or writer, said he had crossed a “very thin line” between hard work and overdoing it.

“Workaholicism is a huge thing, and one of the problems is that it’s really hard to see because hard work is applauded in our culture,” he said. “As it should be, but I think there’s also a line, a very thin line, that I crossed over where there were diminishing returns on the amount of work I was putting in.

“It was just ‘busy work’ after a while, an escape rather than discipline that was adding up to better work.”

Franco, now starring in The Deuce with Maggie Gyllenhaal, an HBO series about the '70s porn industry, also revealed he had made another change in his life: ditching pornography. “I actually do not watch it now,” he said.

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