James Franco

Religion, politics, and ideas ofJames Franco

Summary

Franco has Jewish roots that he regrets not exploring. In the end, he's some kind of agnostic.

Franco doesn't talk politics, but much evidence points to him being socially liberal.

Editorial

James Franco was born and raised in Palo Alto, California.

Franco's upbringing was largely non-religious. It has been described as "academic, liberal and largely secular."[1] But Judaism runs deep in Franco, though only on his mother's side. His grandmother was, at one time, a member of the National Council of Jewish Women,[2] an oft-described feminist organization dedicated to social justice for Jews and women.

However, Franco seems to regret his secular upbringing, saying:

I do feel like I missed out on the Jewish experience. My Jewish friends tell me not to worry… but I like the idea of religion as a source of community.[3]

Regarding his own spiritual views, Franco is vague and expresses a sort of agnosticism, but a light agnosticism, one that probably believes in God in some form or another. Really, he's just unsure. He said when asked if he is a believer:

In God? I don't know. Yes. To a certain extent. It's a complicated question.[4]

Freaks and Geeks–sounds like politics

Franco has not explicitly made any political statements, endorsements, or taken any political positions that I can find. If you've got something, let me know in the comments.

But it seems reasonable to assume that Franco's a liberal. First of all, his upbringing was "academic, liberal, and largely secular." Second of all, he's buddy-buddy enough with Obama to have taken career advice from him. Apparently, Franco asked the president how he dealt with criticism. Obama responded: "Humor, basically."[5] The advice inspired Franco to make this video, where he alludes to long-running jokes about him in the media.

Then, if you start analyzing the films Franco has done, it seems pretty far-left. He played a weed-crazy stoner in Pineapple Express and in three films, he's played a gay man. When critics started asking if Franco was perhaps himself gay, he responded with this:

It's funny because the way that kind of stuff is talked about on blogs is so black-and-white. It's all cut-and-dry identity politics… Part of what I'm interested in is how these people who were living anti-normative lifestyles contended with opposition. Or, you know what, maybe I'm just gay.[6]

Either way, Franco seems to have no problems with gay people. So, I guess he's a liberal?

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