It’s a beautiful fall day in California as I make my way towards Venice Beach to interview Dave Franco. (Yes, James’ adorable little bro — but that’s one of few times I’ll mention any other Francos. OK, Dave? Relax. You are your own person.) I am actually not as excited about this interview as I should be, probably because it’s taking place at the photographer’s house, and the photographer also happens to be my ex-boyfriend. Plus, he’s the only ex-boyfriend who’s broken up with me OVER THE PHONE — something Dave would never do.
Alexi Wasser: I have a bunch of questions. If any are inappropriate and you don’t want to answer, just say ‘pass’.
Dave Franco: [Laughs] Pass. Great.
You also have to tell me if there’s any lipstick on my teeth at any point.
Promise. You’re good, you’re good.
Now, I wasn’t gonna ask you anything about your brother, because I thought that must be completely annoying and you must get so sick of it…
But after watching that Five More Ways video [an interview Dave did with James for Esquire] and seeing you two in those Funny or Die ‘acting lessons’… As two actors who share the same last name, how exactly are you two different?
It’s one of those things where I almost want you to ask someone who knows the both of us to tell you that, otherwise I might come off sounding like an asshole. I’ll figure it out and get back to you. But yeah, we are very different.
What’s the worst thing about being interviewed?
The worst thing is that, when there isn’t a video component to it — because I’m kind of sarcastic and have a very dry sense of humour — a lot of the stuff I say can be misconstrued when it’s in print, and I feel like I’ve gotten into some trouble for that. You know? You make a casual remark under your breath, and it makes you sound like a prick.
Well, you’re lovely. I promise I’m not out to make you look like an asshole.
I’m a big fan of the short film you made with Christopher Mintz-Plasse [You’re So Hot]. Did you become friends with Christopher and Jonah Hill on Superbad?
No, I only worked on Superbad for a day. I met Chris briefly, but that’s not where we became friends. We became friends on Fright Night. On set we would play a game called ‘You’re So Hot’ where you stand ten feet apart from each other and you try to make the other person crack by saying the most homoerotic thing possible, and the goal is to make the other person laugh. So, after the movie was done, we decided that that game might make a funny short.
You also did a video called Go F*ck Yourself…
Yes. That one’s interesting, because anytime someone brings it up to me, the fact that they’re bringing it up implies that they’ve literally seen me have sex with myself. So, it’s kinda hard to know how to respond [laughs]. But I guess I knew what I was getting into and… I don’t know. I guess I’m drawn to these videos that leave people…
Questioning your sexuality?
Not knowing what to feel. You know? It’s very uncomfortable. But that video is kind of sweet at points… My buddies I’ve grown up with called me out recently; they’re like, “I can’t even imagine what people who don’t know you think of you based on these videos.” I don’t know, I guess I try not to think about it. I’m just trying to make these videos that, I guess, are original, and make people at least feel something.
Has your sexuality been questioned as a result of the videos?
[Laughs] Of course! Have you seen the videos?
Well, I didn’t wanna come right out and say ‘are you gay’, but… are you gay?
[Laughs] No! I can say for the record that I am straight. But of course people are gonna wonder based on these videos, and I don’t blame them.
Was that your intention when you made them? ‘Yeah, I’m gonna make these crazy videos and fuck with everybody!’
No, that wasn’t the intention. That wasn’t the intention at all! The intention, like I said, was just to make something original, to bring something original to the table… and a little bit of a shock factor, I guess.
Who do you play on 21 Jump Street?
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play two undercover cops who infiltrate this high school to stop the spread of…
Yes, exactly. Um, no.
Go on. Sorry.
They’re trying to stop the spread of this new drug called HFS, and I play the drug dealer — who happens to be very eco-friendly, despite selling the most inorganic drug ever made…
Is this supposed to be based on some real drug that actually exists? Like, Adderall, or MDMA, or…
No, it’s completely made-up.
Tell me things girls are gonna wanna masturbate to…
Is Johnny Depp really in the movie? Or is that all just a sham?
[Laughs] It’s all a hoax! No, he was there — for just one day.
I knew it! Just like you in Superbad!
He was a great sport! When people see the movie and see what the directors put him through… He had a great time. He stayed much longer than he needed to and he seemed like he was having a great time. He was having fun.
Tell me about your other brother — you know, the one that nobody cares about.
Tom Franco is the coolest one!
What are you listening to on your iPod right now?
I like the new Foster the People album a lot. Always Nick Drake. I’ve been listening to some old hip hop recently — I’ve been listening to a lot of N.W.A and Nas…
Born on June 12 — you’re a Gemini. Are you single?
What’s a first date with you like?
To be honest, I don’t think I really do anything special. I don’t really try to put on a face. I figure I should just try to be myself as much as possible, and if they don’t like me on the first date, then we won’t go down this road and find out things later on that maybe someone was hiding. Um, I guess I like to keep it relatively low-key. I love sushi. I’d probably go to sushi if she’s into that.
How do you break up with a girl? We can role-play to illustrate this, if you like. I’ll be the girl. Action!
If you’re gonna break up with a girl… hmmm. Alright, so I actually joked about this earlier with someone that you may know [grins].
I’m confused. So, how do you break up with a girl?
Well, you don’t do it over the phone!