James Franco speaks at O’Connell Center

james franco
Photo from GQ.tumblr.com

Alex Sargent

Sophomore, Political Science and Journalism major

Just two months after one of his “interviews” created global tension, students lined up for blocks to hear James Franco be part of a different kind of interview at the University of Florida Wednesday evening.

The event, which was sponsored by ACCENT Speakers Bureau, took place atat the O’Connell Center. Nearly every seat available for the event was taken, and entrance lines wrapped around the building.

Franco was interviewed by Mike Foley, a professor at the UF College of Journalism. During the hour-long event, Foley asked Franco about his past, his friendship with Seth Rogen and the controversy surrounding “The Interview,” his most recent film that led to increased tension between the United States and North Korea.

Daniel Castaneda, a second-year criminal justice major, said that he came to hear Franco “express his ideas and his perspective about the media and how he would react towards it. I think it’s great that he came out to UF.”

When asked about his thoughts on Sony’s decision to pull The Interview from wide release, Franco said, “It wasn’t as if Sony was asking me ‘Well what do you want to do, James?’ At that point it was out of my hands.”

Students were also able to ask Franco questions from microphones placed around the floor. Audience members asked about everything from Franco’s acting methods to how he learned sign language for his role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

But the questions also strayed into strange requests. One student asked Franco to represent a “revolutionary new product” he and a friend had created. Another audience member declined to ask a question, merely thanking Franco for following him on Twitter.

In a press release put out after the event, ACCENT Chairman Corey Flayman said that the excitement on campus was palpable as soon as the event was announced.

”Today was an exciting day to be a part of the Gator Nation. We’ve all seen James Franco on TV and in movies. Tonight, UF students got the opportunity to see him live. James Franco has a incredibly unique set of life experiences and I am glad he was able to share them with the University of Florida community.”

But student reactions to the event were much more mixed.

Brian Taylor, a senior anthropology and religion major, said that Franco “was a little long winded. Some of the answers didn’t seem to match the questions 100 percent. But he’s a very interesting guy, and he has a lot to tell us.”

“I kinda phased out a couple times,” he said. “But he seems like a really interesting guy.”

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