James Franco was enrolled in the filmmaking program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (one of multiple degrees the actor-director has received) when the thought first dawned on him: “I remember being there and being like, ‘Oh man, I wish I had a Coen brother,’” he told Yahoo Entertainment (watch above) in reference to Joel and Ethan Coen, the fraternal duo behind films like The Big Lebowski and Fargo. “Like I would actually think that, like, ‘Where’s my Coen brother? Where’s my Coen brother?’”
And then another thought dawned on him. “I was like, ‘Dude, you’ve got a brother!’”
That would be Dave Franco, James’s younger brother. While James, 39, had been acting for over a decade, Dave, 32, was coming to his own at the time, taking tiny roles in films like Superbad and Milk and landing an arc on the ABC Family drama Greek.
The brothers have crossed paths in some projects since, but the new comedy The Disaster Artist — directed by James Franco about the making of the epically bad midnight screening classic The Room — marks their most prominent collaboration yet. James stars as enigmatic Room creator Tommy Wiseau, while Dave is second billed as Room actor Greg Sestero, whose autobiographical book of the same name inspired the film.
“We essentially spent the most time we’ve ever spent together,” said Dave. “Because he’s seven years older than me, so when we were growing up, the age difference was so much that we were just in our own worlds. And so now I see him all the time, which is great.”
Since making The Disaster Artist, which has earning raves since its March debut at the SXSW Film Festival, Dave said he and his older bro have paired up to work on additional projects, including next year’s comedy Zeroville, in which James once again directed and Dave once again co-stars.
It appears James finally does have his own Coen brother, though we did have to remind him that he has another sibling. Their middle brother, Tom Franco, is an actor as well and the founder of an art collective in Berkeley, Calif.
“But I won,” laughed Dave.
The Disaster Artist is playing in select theaters and opens nationwide on Friday.
Watch: Here are the three questions The Disaster Artist cast can’t answer about Tommy Wiseau:
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