Alongside his addictive personality, Franco said he came to a point in his career where he realized he was depressed.
"I really threw myself into it, and that became everything, to the point where I didn't even socialize," he said. "And then after, like, 10 years of that, at age 27, I realized, 'Man, I'm so depressed. On the surface my life seems pretty good—I have a career and everything— but I feel isolated and lonely.'"
Franco is promoting his latest HBO series with Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Deuce" which details New York's porn production industry during the 1970s. Franco directed three of the episodes himself, which he says taught him porn production was harder than he imagined.
"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," he said. "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."
Though he does say that directing was a new and exciting task for him, he has no plans to give up acting.
"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," he said.
"But no, I will not stop acting," he continued. "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."