He's got his hand in a lot of creative pots

9 9 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

NEW YORK – In Hollywood, they are known as EGOTs, those very few who have won an Emmy, a Tony, an Oscar and a Grammy.

And then there's James Franco, who seems to have a foot in every aspect of the entertainment industry. He's written books, including the short story collection Palo Alto that also inspired his latest film, and a tome of poetry. He's studied at various prestigious colleges and taught classes. He's directed art-house films, and spoofed Kim Kardashian and Kanye West with his pal Seth Rogen. He's the face of Gucci. And now, he's appearing on Broadway in Of Mice and Men.

MORE: Franco steers creativity in all directions

He's fully aware that being so many things at once, he's opening himself up to ample scrutiny. And he doesn't care all that much. "I don't mind critics," he says.

Maybe it's because, according to Palo Alto's director Gia Coppola (granddaughter of Francis Ford), Franco just doesn't dwell on it. "He's completely fearless and that's something to look up to," she says. "He's super-available and extremely intelligent and has an amazing work ethic that's really admirable. I look up to him."

But what about when a recent, very prominent theater reviewer for the paper of record bashed Franco's performance, leading to a rant on Instagram? That seemed to bug Franco.

"You know, I had this understanding that if I was going to write or direct or do art, I would be entering those worlds as an actor. People would know me as an actor. People are most skeptical of actors and celebrities, for good reason. I knew there would be skepticism and criticism because of that," says Franco, 36. "I had to learn to embrace the process and enjoy the doing of it. There's a strand of criticism that is attached to my persona as an actor. It's just not helpful criticism."

He's not morose or angry or tortured. Or if he is, he hides it well. "I've had a really, really good life. I've achieved all the dreams I had when I was a kid in high school. I love acting and art and writing, and I've gotten to do those things. I feel like I don't have to prove myself anymore," says Franco.

9 9 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1jmf8CP