James Franco Recalls Working at McDonald's: It Was There for Me 'When No One Else Was'

by Antoinette Bueno 10:04 AM PDT, May 07, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Though he's now an obvious Hollywood success, James Franco will forever be grateful for his time working at McDonald's.

In a new essay for the Washington Post, the 37-year-old actor reveals his past with the fast food chain. Franco says he started working at McDonald's when he dropped out of UCLA to go to a "hole-in-the-wall acting school in the Valley," and his parents told him he had to support himself if he wasn't enrolled in college.

Franco admits he had very little work experience and no car.

"Someone asked me if I was too good to work at McDonald's. Because I was following my acting dream despite all the pressure not to, I was definitely not too good to work at McDonald's," he says. "I went to the nearest Mickey D's and was hired the same day."

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Starting with the late shift drive-thru position, he used the opportunity to hone his acting skills by putting on fake accents -- and even scored some dates. He eventually moved up to work the front counter during the day, where he witnessed firsthand some of the rudeness of the customers.

"Parents ordering for their children are the worst, and parents ordering for a group of children, like a sports team, are the devil incarnate," he comments. "Some customers seem to think that paying for food entitles them to boss the service workers around, but if you’re buying fast food, how much entitlement does that buy you? When you’re paying a dollar for a burger, is it the end of the world if I accidentally forgot to take the mustard off the order?"

And working at McDonald's was never boring.

"I got hit on by the hamburger cooker," he claims. "He wanted to hook up in the bathroom, but he didn’t speak English, so he had someone translate for him."

To this day, he is grateful to the corporation.

"All I know is that when I needed McDonald's, McDonald's was there for me," he says. "When no one else was."

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Last January, Franco talked to ET about his memorable Ford Super Bowl ad, and revealed that his very first paid acting gig was for a Pizza Hut Super Bowl commercial -- which allowed him to quit his job at McDonald's. Watch below: