For this week’s feature on some iconic personalities’ cinematic doppelgangers, the spotlight is on James Franco, who starred as James Dean in the 2001 TV film named after the Hollywood legend. Find out more after the jump!
While sharing a name and an uncanny resemblance to the iconic James Dean may have earned him the lead role for the 2001 biopic named after the legendary actor, but James Franco’s thorough research for his part was definitely the clincher for his acclaimed performance.
Franco did extensive research to prepare himself for the role of James Dean, who rose to popularity as the epitome of the ultimate teenage rebel during the early 1950s for films such as Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, and Giant. Aside from carefully studying Dean’s mannerisms from his three notable films, Franco reportedly even went as far as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day (from being a non-smoker), learning how to ride a motorcycle, as well as playing the guitar, conga, and bongo drums.
Leonardo di Caprio may have been the first choice to portray Dean for this biopic (oh, and so were Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt in the planning stages during the early 90s), but critics agree that no other actor could have pulled it off aside from Franco. See for yourself in a snipped from the James Dean TV biopic below:
All information for this article were sourced from James Dean (film) on Wikipedia.
A series made for cinephiles, Reel vs. Real highlights some notable biographical films that you may or may not have watched, and puts the biopic actors side by side with their real life counterparts.