General Hospital: More on James Franco's Role

James Franco's daytime debut is no laughing matter now that we've seen his General Hospital promo picture. Still, there are fans who remain puzzled by this unusual career move considering the 31-year-old actor has already made name for himself with films like the Pineapple Express, Milk, and the Spider-Man trilogy.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, General Hospital executive producer Jill Farren Phelps explains how Franco's was cast on the ABC soap and what's in store for his character.

"He approached us," Phelps said of Franco. "And we all had the same reaction of 'Really? Are you kidding?' What we know is that he told his manager, Miles Levy, that he wanted to do a soap opera." Coincidentally, Miles Levy is also the manager of General Hospital lead star Steve Burton, who plays mobster Jason Morgan.

Franco will appear as the character named Franco, who is described as a pain in the side of Burton's Jason.

"He's an unusual character and he has an unusual goal. We're not saying anything about what he's doing because we want people to tune in, obviously. Unlike other times when we try to grab people, we think James is enough of a hook. He interacts with a lot of characters, but his primary story arc has to do with Jason," Phelps said.

The transition from film to soap is a bit challenging since there's a lot of memorization involved but Franco, according to Phelps, hasn't been deterred so far. In fact, he's willing to do at least 10 episodes of General Hospital, making his first appearance on Friday, November 20.

"We weren't sure if it was going to happen, even after being consistently reassured. But we made the plane reservation and he showed up -- and could not have been nicer or more humble; he was willing to do whatever we asked. He had over 65 pages of material to do in the one day, so it was a very long day, but his demeanor was completely professional. We told him that if he ever wants to give up film acting, there's always a home for him in Port Charles," Phelps said.

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