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James Franco Opens up About His Work Addiction

John Connor Coulston


James Franco recently opened up about an addiction that was slowly consuming his life.

While Franco has starred in several drug-centered films like Pineapple Express, his addiction isn't substance-related. As Franco told GQ Australia, he recently realized he had a work addiction that he was using to distract himself from all the emotional turmoil in his life.

The Disaster Artist star says he "hit a wall" in November and was faced with a "moment of crisis" that caused him to step back and slow down his work.

"It was a gradual thing," he said. "I hadn't been in a relationship in a long time and was, like, realizing how much I was running from feelings and people. And how much of my identity was wrapped up in work. I knew who I was on a movie set. But take me away from that and it’s like, 'Oh s---, I have to interact with people outside of the dynamics of a movie set? That's really scary.'"

“But as soon as I took a step back and stopped working, it was like, 'holy s---,' All the feelings flooded in and it was like, this is what I was running from. This is what I was using work to hide from. This is why I had to occupy myself every minute of the day, 24 hours a day. Because I was running, running from emotions and being vulnerable and being around people. Being myself."

Franco, who has 17 projects currently in production or awaiting release, said it was hard to accept that his work ethic has evolved into a full-blown addiction. He attributes that to society's admiration for hard workers.

“The thing about work addiction is our culture supports it,” he said. “We reward hard work and success. But it can really mask addictive, escapist behaviour."

“But in fact, being a workaholic means you’re addicted to something. And what’s underneath addiction? It’s about hiding from fear, from pain, it’s doing something to make yourself feel better. That’s exactly what I was doing and I had to really adjust my relationship to work. It’s really hard. I’m sure, like anything you’re addicted to, letting that go is difficult because it’s a coping mechanism to make you feel good.”

Franco's next high-profile projects include the HBO drama series The Deuce and the biographical comedy The Disaster Artist.

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