Sunday, June 07, 2009

Actor James Franco pulls out of UCLA grad speech

Actor James Franco says he has dropped a plan to give a commencement speech at the University of California, Los Angeles, a move that may have been prompted by pressure from students.

Franco issued a statement saying he canceled his June 12 appearance because of conflicts with preproduction demands for his next film.

However, the "Pineapple Express" star had been the object of opposition from students who said he was not the right fit for the commencement speech.

"The problem with him as a speaker comes down to the fact he was a peer for so many of us," UCLA senior Erin Moore said. "He was in our class. He's not a role model. And he hasn't had time to accomplish anything with his degree."

Franco, 31, enrolled at UCLA in 1996 and graduated last year with a degree in creative writing. He would have been the youngest person and most recent graduate to deliver a commencement speech at UCLA.

Soon after the commencement announcement in March, Moore set up a Facebook page called "UCLA Students Against James Franco as Commencement Speaker." Hundreds joined, and Moore estimated about 80 percent of them are UCLA students.

A call to Franco's manager early Saturday was not immediately returned. A UCLA spokesman referred The Associated Press to Franco's statement, in which he expressed regret at not being able to give the speech.

UCLA announced on its Web site that Franco would be replaced by Linkin Park lead guitarist and UCLA alumnus Brad Delson, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication studies in 1999.

Franco is perhaps best known for his supporting role in the "Spider-Man" films.

He is preparing for the comedy "Your Highness," which is set to begin filming next month. Amanda Lundberg, a spokeswoman for the producer of the film, said Franco would be on the set in Ireland on June 12.


Tobamel said...

i'd say that's UCLA's loss, this whole thing makes this year's graduating class seem like a bunch of snobs

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