James Franco joins me on this week’s edition of my Deadline video series The Actor’s Side, about the art of the actor. In a wide-ranging conversation, we get right to the heart of just what makes him tick on the screen and onstage.

Franco describes how as a kid he loved movies and knew he wanted to act because of that passion. He also talks about his early experiences in high school, where a girlfriend working with another student actor made him just jealous enough to pursue the craft seriously. His fear of failure, his desire to do more than one aspect of the business and trying to make it on his own were early influences on his path to success.

HBO

In addition, he reveals how working at McDonalds, where he got to try out his accents on the drive-thru microphone, also helped. One of those accents he perfected while slinging hamburgers is the Brooklynese one he uses on his new HBO series The Deuce, a character he says might be the first real adult role he has played.

But it was the experience of playing James Dean, a Golden Globe-winning portrayal in 2001’s TNT telefilm, that made the most impact on him, and still does. He explains how playing the Hollywood icon somehow merged with his latest film The Disaster Artistwhich he directed and stars in as a terrible actor with a dream to make it big. Franco has made it big, and he does it all, but acting is clearly his No. 1 passion.

Check out the video of our conversation above.