James Franco Defends McDonald's

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

Before James Franco was Hollywood star James Franco, he was taking drive-thru orders at McDonald's using different accents to help support his dream of becoming an actor. In a Thursday piece for The Washington Post, Franco tells how he was not "too good" to work or eat there, and defended the fast-food chain amid its ongoing financial losses and becoming the latest pariah for those more health-conscious members of the public.

"All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me," Franco stated, hoping for a strategy that will save the fast-food staple from going under.

He then gave a little background of how he wound up working the drive-thru: After dropping out of UCLA at age 18, the wanna-be actor lost support from his family and began looking for jobs to help him pay for acting school. With little prior job experience, and a propensity for getting fired for reading on the job, Franco sought out the golden arches.

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. I went to the nearest Mickey D’s and was hired the same day.

As he worked the late night drive-thru window, Franco brushed up on his "bad" accents with customers, even once impressing the casting director for NYPD Blue who was taken with his British accent.

Franco admitted scarfing down the cheeseburgers heading for the trash and even eating "straight from the fry hopper" -- just like every other employee does, he reveals. (With "tons of salt" to boot.)

Three months and one promotion to the front counter later, Franco booked his first big television commercial and the rest is history.

And in tribute to the place that gave him a chance, Franco states that McDonald's was there for him "when no one else was." He recognizes the importance of a place like McDonald's in peoples' lives, not just for the quick and cheap food, but also as a place where many Americans experience their first job. 

I was treated fairly well at McDonald’s. If anything, they cut me slack. And, just like their food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need. I still love the simplicity of the McDonald’s hamburger and its salty fries. After reading “Fast Food Nation,” it’s hard for me to trust the grade of the meat. 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.

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