James Franco has a "very addictive personality."
The 39-year-old actor has admitted he first dabbled in drugs and alcohol when he was a teenager, although he believes acting saved him because it occupied all of his attention, but it then became a vicious circle because he became isolated and sunk into depression.
He said: "I have a very addictive personality. When I was a teenager I got over certain addictions, and that's when I started acting, at age 17. I really threw myself into it, and that became everything, to the point where I didn't even socialise. And then after, like, 10 years of that, at age 27, I realised I'm so depressed. On the surface my life seems pretty good - I have a career and everything - but I feel isolated and lonely."
Despite how lonely acting has made him in the past, the Hollywood star is adamant he'll never give it up and, instead, will vary his time so he's both in front and behind the camera.
Speaking to the new issue of OUT magazine, he explained: "I've got to say, of all the things that I've done, and I've done a lot, the actual process of directing is the most fun, because you're in the middle of all these different creative people. But no, I will not stop acting. Most actors come to a point in their lives where they have to reassess what they're doing and why they're doing it, and for me, after going back to school and trying to do all these other things, this new chapter, with surfing and dancing, is really about slowing down and trying to focus on fewer things but in a deeper, more quality-filled way."
And James is glad that one of his first directorial roles was 'The Deuce' because he got to work with Maggie Gyllenhaal and, although it was a sex scene, she helped him settle into the leading role as she set the bar for the all the other actors.
He said: "I had to direct sex scenes in 'The Deuce' and ... whooo, it was interesting, I have to say. Maggie Gyllenhaal, in addition to being just an incredible actress, is fearless, and she really led the charge with how she handled the sex scenes and how she handled herself, and really set the template for everyone else.
"If I didn't have someone like her I think it would have been really, really hard to engage in those scenes, but she just made it so easy. She's fearless."