James Franco Pens Love Letter to McDonald’s in The Washington Post

05/07/2015 at 09:56 AM ET

Brian Ach/Getty
James Franco

“All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me.”

So begins James Franco‘s adoring op-ed about McDonald’s published in Thursday’s The Washington Post, but perhaps “op-ed” is the wrong word—the piece is really more of a love letter to the struggling franchise, where Franco worked in the ’90s when he was first trying to break into acting, had just dropped out of UCLA and couldn’t find a steady job.

Franco’s late-shift drive-thru position turned out to be more than just a financial necessity—it allowed him to practice various accents, including “Brooklynese,” Italian, British, Irish, Russian and Southern.

“I was asked to give Italian lessons to a cute young woman who thought I was from Pisa; of course I couldn’t follow up as I did not speak Italian,” Franco writes, now 37. “The casting director for NYPD Blue liked my British accent, but was put off when I revealed that I was actually just a California boy.”

Aside from accent practice, there were other perks, too, like eating “cheeseburgers that were headed for the trash” and sneaking frozen apple bars, which he would eat in the freezer, “still frozen—great with coffee.” (Not to mention eating french fries straight from the fryer: “I hate to whistle blow, but everyone ate straight from the fry hopper.”)

Franco’s op-ed is published at a time when the iconic chain faces declining profits and nationwide protests over low wages. The chain has announced plans to raise wages to $9.90—by over a dollar—though workers say it’s too little, too late.

The piece will add even more star-powered buzz to McDonald’s, which just announced release of the revamped (and, honestly, kind of sexy) Hamburglar mascot, who’ll be part of a new ad campaign.

“After reading Fast Food Nation, it’s hard for me to trust the grade of the meat,” Franco writes. “But maybe once a year, while on a road trip or out in the middle of nowhere for a movie, I’ll stop by a McDonald’s and get a simple cheeseburger: light, and airy, and satisfying.”

—Maria Yagoda, @MariaYagoda

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Showing 11 comments

ca on

Love him for writing this!

Just Sayin' on

Hmmmm nothing he said will persuade me to eat there!

Suzy P on

People who eat at McDonald’s everyday or several times a week are insane. And they have no one to blame but themselves for being fat.

Catherine on

I used to get McDonald’s about once a week because it was cheap and quick. Their prices have gone up a lot in the last few months. And the older I get, the less my body can tolerate eating it. Still, this is a cute op-ed he wrote.

maya on

What is it with the New York Times giving a nutcase like Nick Loeb space to bully his ex about a very private matter, and now The Washington Post giving space for this? I’m glad James Franco is so fond of a major food chain that underpays its employees, but really TWP, you felt the need to print this? Would you have done it if a non-celebrity wrote it? I think not. McDonald’s made a fortune off of low income people (among others), paid low wages, and threw tons of food that could have been donated to feed the hungry. Like other big corporations, their main goal was to make money. If they’re struggling now, they did it to themselves by being greedy. I have no sympathy for McDonald’s.

maya on

**Threw OUT tons of food. (instead of donating it)

Mandy on

Maya they had to throw it out after it had set out awhile. Do you know anything about health codes? Lots of places pay minimum wage, but let’s all jump on the I hate McDonald’s bandwagon. I don’t eat there everyday or even every week, but I do like to sometimes.

Patricia on

How much did they pay him for this I wonder.

J on

McDonalds needs to bring back the McDonaldLand Cookies and some environmentally friendly clam shell containers again!
Once those things left, it all started falling apart.
I question Mayor McCheese’s leadership for allowing this to happen.

Charlie Waffles on

Franco MUST be from another planet. So weird…

Chill Out People on

Anything in moderation (um..except maybe meth or heroin) is just fine!! Americans need to stop stressing over McD’s. Sheesh. A cheeseburger and fries once in a while is perfectly OK.
But hey McD’s: your so-called “dollar menu” kinda sucks now because most items are actually $1.29-$1.69 *oh well* #firstworldproblems

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