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It’s been a big week for McDonald’s. First, the company announced it’s putting kale on the menu. Second, the Hamburglar is back, albeit the 2015 slightly off-putting hipster dad version. And third, actor-writer-director James Franco has penned a 950-word essay about the fast food chain that appears in today’s Washington Post. It’s half thank-you letter, half love letter. “All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me,” he said. “When no one else was.”
Leave it to Franco to champion the company everyone loves to dump on. He’s never been one to take the obvious route. After all, this is the major actor who did a guest spot on “General Hospital” at a point in his career when one would sneer at soap operas. He’s also starred in “The Interview,” the now-infamous movie that caused the Sony hacking scandal; he’s also hosted the Academy Awards with Anne Hathaway, and he’s written a book of poetry.
But before all of this, he worked at McDonald’s. It was 1996 and he was a college dropout/aspiring actor looking to pay the bills. “I was given the late shift drive-thru position. I wore a purple visor and purple polo shirt and took orders over a headset,” he wrote. “I refrained from reading on the job, but soon started putting on fake accents with the customers to practice for my scenes in acting class.”
When Franco got the gig, he was a vegetarian, but he soon started eating the iconic cheeseburgers (but ones otherwise “headed for the trash after being under the warming lamps for more than seven minutes”). And apple pies (consumed frozen while standing in the walk-in freezer). And fries, straight from the fry hopper. (Everybody did it, apparently.)
We won’t give away the ending, but suffice to say, he still eats at McDonald’s.
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