As James Franco disclosed in a 2015 project collaboration between Google Play and California Sunday magazine (via People), the actor’s teenage years, which he spent in NorCal’s Palo Alto, were filled with a variety of youthful indiscretions, enough among them to get Franco into some serious trouble. As Franco recalled in the short film entry Franco contributed to the “California Inspires Me” series, Franco’s aimless early years were the fount for his less-than-stellar behavior. “By the time I got to high school I didn’t have a ‘thing,'” Franco recounted, “so I ended up just getting into a lot of trouble.” Activities included ones that would most likely spring to mind for juvenile offenses, like a preoccupation with graffiti, which Franco said got him in trouble with local authorities at least once. But at least one criminal endeavor had some more wide-reaching consequences. The racket? A bona-fide black market cologne ring.
According to Franco, he and his friends started “stealing cologne” in eighth grade in order to sell it at school for a profit. “We had like thirty bottles of cologne each in our lockers at school and then we could sell cologne at the dances,” the actor recalled. Eventually, per Franco, he was arrested for shoplifting after their unseemly activities were reported to the police. “It was like a big bust,” he concluded.