Actor Dave Franco has one the most charismatic smiles in Hollywood. The former University of Southern California (USC) alumnus’s career began with small roles in movies like Superbad, Scrubs, Neighbors and 21 Jump Street. The youngest of the Franco brothers, he is a cat man and lover of animated movies.
Franco will lead the troops on the big screen in The LEGO NINJAGO Movie. An animated movie, it’s where Franco gives voice to “Lloyd, the Green Ninja.” His character is a young warrior who leads the charge to defeat the evil warlord Garmadon, who also happens to be his father. Talk about a family feud!
We caught up with Franco before the release of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie.Here’s what he had to say….
Latinaology– First of all, how are your Cats Arturo and Harry?
Franco – Laughs… They are doing well, they’re slow but mentally sharp.
Latinaology- Did your experience at USC help you get roles?
Franco-Ummm, oh man, I don’t think it helped me directly get roles. But I do think it helped me, when I was first starting out. I was struggling a lot and could not land any roles. But I was still going to USC at the time and so even though I was trying to balance school and acting, I could convince myself I was doing something productive and didn’t have to put all my eggs in one basket. On top of that I met some of my closest friends at school. None of them have anything to do with the business so it’s nice to surround myself with people who are happy for you. They don’t care what job I’m working on or actors I’m working with so it’s very humbling and keeps me grounded.
Latinaology– How was it going from comedy to something like Six Balloons?
Franco – Wildly different. I think most people know me from comedies I’ve been in. and I love working on comedies just for the obvious reason of coming on set and making people laugh. I wanted to stretch myself into something new, I took on the role of a heroin addict which is a huge departure from anything I’ve done and it was the most difficult thing I have worked on for many reasons: I lost 20lbs in two months, I’m not a big guy to start with, but that’s a huge chunk of my body weight. Without getting into dark places. I was full on depressed. When you lose so much weight it affects you. On top of that I wanted to do so much research, so I was not going to take heroin, but I watched as many documentaries as I could and I was in this dark heroin tunnel. But I am very happy with the final product and I am very proud of it. Hopefully other people will like it, too. I was relieved when it was over, and afterwards went on a full-on food tour to all my favorite restaurants. The weight came back quicker than when I lost it.
Latinaology– How did you play a deaf-mute guy ravaged by nuns?
Franco– Laughs– Lots of preparation! There was no script for that movie. Really, it was totally improvised. I kept asking the director what kind of character I should be researching and he told me not to over think it. Just show up on set and be in the moment and react to what the other actors were doing. And that’s what I did.
And it is a little scary playing a guy who could not talk and could not hear anything. The director challenged me to look at it from another perspective. That I had emotions with restrictions. It was fun, and I got to work with some of the best comedic actors working today and they made me look better than I really am.
Latinaology – Let’s talk about your new movie The LEGO NINJAGO Movie : This your first animated movie where you are voicing “Lloyd the Green Ninja.” Tell me about your experiences? What is the message?
Franco– It makes me feel proud to be part of this movie and the LEGO universe. These are my favorite animated movies, period.
The creative team is so clever, so smart and made the movie appeal equally to all ages, from my nephews who are under the age of 5, to my friends who are in their thirties. It’s fun to be in an animated film, to go into the recording booth and be silly and weird not have to hold yourself back in any way because, yes, it is just your voice and no one can see you. It’s liberating that way. The director really encouraged us to improvise and that allowed all of us to bring our own brand of humor to the character.
The movie is about really understanding people in your life. Relationships with your family members are really complicated and sometimes you need to take a step back and try to understand where each of you are coming from. If you are not getting along it might just be miscommunication. Be open with each other and just work on the relationship, as that will make it stronger.
Catch Franco’s new movie The LEGO NINJAGO Movie in theatres September 22, 2017.
Until next time,