James Edward Franco (born April 19, 1978) is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, teacher, author and poet. His first prominent role was a lead part, "Daniel Desario", on the short-lived cult hit television program Freaks and Geeks, he later achieved recognition for playing the title character in the TV biographical film James Dean (2001), in which he won a Golden Globe Award, and for playing Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002-2007). He is also known for his roles in the films Pineapple Express (2008), Milk (2008), 127 Hours (2010), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), Spring Breakers (2013), and This Is the End (2013). He also had a recurring role in the ABC soap opera General Hospital. For his role in 127 Hours, Franco was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Franco volunteers for the Art of Elysium charity and has taught a class at New York University in feature filmmaking and production. In 2013, he began teaching a course in short film production at the University of Southern California and a course in screenwriting at his alma mater, University of California, Los Angeles. He is a PhD candidate at Yale University.