Last month, Dave spoke with Variety to discuss his directorial debut, The Rental, along with his journey to fulfilling his lifelong dream of being in the director’s chair. Check out outtakes and scans in our gallery!
VARIETY – Dave Franco has long struggled against being labeled the “kid brother” type, from the time he was an unknown growing up in Palo Alto, Calif.
“My first job was at a mom-and-pop video store when I was 14, and I’ve always looked young for my age,” says Franco. “People would come in wondering why this 9-year-old-looking boy was renting them ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Basic Instinct.’”
Deceptive looks aside, he still was not of legal age to work. “They paid me by allowing me to take home as many movies as I wanted. That became my film school,” he says.
That early training, along with some 13 years of professional acting, finally brings Franco to his lifelong dream of the director’s chair for “The Rental,” an IFC Films title that, when it hits on July 24, will represent one of the few summer theatrical releases amid the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a moment 20 years in the making, some of Franco’s lifelong colleagues tell Variety, one that he has achieved through relentless curiosity on the job. Much of his experience was earned alongside his brother James, whose career has stalled amid sexual harassment allegations from former students, which the older Franco denies.
Known affectionately as Davey to friends and family, Dave Franco has been no one’s little brother for quite some time, and this breakout as director is the next phase of the evolution. Franco has delivered breakout comedic performances in films like Nicholas Stoller’s “Neighbors” and empathetic dramatic turns in work like Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “The Disaster Artist,” directed by James. He’s also quick to remind that he began his career as a creator in the digital space; he wrote, directed and edited comedy shorts in the early days of Funny or Die while he was studying at the University of Southern California.
“I felt like I could take huge risks because the worst thing that could happen is that no one would watch them,” Franco says. “But because I was taking big swings and making unique choices, I started to gain a bit of a following. Over time, I realized that my videos that went viral had more viewers than the indies I was acting in. That was gratifying, and made me want to take the next step into writing and directing a feature.”
His entry into directing arrived with the help of Joe Swanberg, the longtime indie filmmaker who cast Franco on his Netflix original series “Easy” in 2016. On that set, the two discovered similar artistic sensibilities and a love of horror movies. Continue Reading