What Do Emma Roberts and Gia Coppola Think of James Franco? Their Answers Might Surprise You

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Lately James Franco has made his biggest headlines for posting almost nude selfies and asking out a 17-year-old girl on Instagram. So you might be surprised to hear the way Emma Roberts and Gia Coppola, the costar and writer/director of his new movie, described him when we caught up with them.

Palo Alto is an adaptation of a book based on James' short stories from his hometown, about teenagers growing up and dealing with family issues. We asked Gia and Emma - who plays April, a high school student who James' slightly creepy character (Mr. B) falls in love with - about the movie and working with Hollywood's rebel with a cause.

"I read the book when it came out cause I'm a big James Franco fan," Emma told us. "I was really intrigued that he was writing a book of short stories cause I haven't really seen many actors do that. I remember saying to my manager, 'If this ever becomes a movie--I have to be in it!' And the years went by and I got my hands on Gia's script and fell in love with it. It was really a passion project for me and I think for everybody."

Gia, on the other hand, just finished college. "I was reflecting on those years of being a teenager and I really hadn't experienced much else other than being a teenager," she told us. "So that's really the only story I can tell." But she did have a deeper connection with the book.

"James articulated those emotions of being young in such a realistic way," Gia explained. "And because of my photography background, it just kind of felt like an extension of photography and he made an environment for me where I was collaborating with my friends."

But what was it like working with Mr. Franco himself? "He's a super intelligent guy. It's really admirable - his work ethic and all the many things he does," Gia said. "He was a great asset to have, especially for me because he's a director so he could help me at times. He gave me freedom and my own interpretation and at the same time he's supportive."

Emma got the opportunity to cross James off her actors-to-work-with bucket list. "I was really nervous to meet him because I was such a fan, and he's James Franco!" the 23-year-old actress told us. "He was so nice to me, so giving as an actor and so present. He's the sweetest guy and I'd work with him again in a second."

Palo Alto is now out in theaters in New York and Los Angeles and will be released in other U.S. cities on May 16.


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