Did James Franco Try To Give A 17-Year-Old Girl A Look At The Man Behind The Curtain?

Whether you think of Harry Osborn or the Wizard of Oz when you hear the name James Franco, you can now add Creepy Cradle Robber to the list of possible mental images. Screenshots of an Instagram DM conversation between James and a 17-year-old girl named Lucy from Scotland have surfaced after the teen posted them online. Franco will turn 36 later this month.

On April 1st, the girl, who was in New York with her mother as an early 18th birthday gift, took an Instagram video of Franco outside of his Broadway show Of Mice and Men.

In the video, Franco can be seen signing autographs. After James signs Lucy’s, he appears to point at her, then says, “You gotta tag me!” The girl did, and that’s when the alleged shenanigans ensued.

Alleged because the above screenshots, in which Franco asks if he should get a hotel room after she mentions she’s not 18 yet, do come at an unfortunate timeframe: April 1st. And yet, with the two “proof” photos that Franco produced at Lucy’s request, and an all caps reaction added to his Instagram profile (which has since been removed), the chances of this being legitimate rise significantly.

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That being said, the fallout from this reveal by the teenager has brought about a disturbing slew of comments in support of Franco. The teen’s account has gone private in light of the reaction, with comments telling her that she “blew it” and that she’d “regret it later.” One comment criticized her for taking it public:

this is what happens when you give a little girl too much power and it’s his mistake for trusting you to act maturely, but realize this is probably why he can trust no one and has to ask strangers to hang out in the first place. people are sick and this is a power complex. he’s just a normal human dude who thought you were cute and put a little too much faith in your ability to accept that fact.

As you might expect with the internet, Franco has been inundated with Twitter and Instagram comments of women throwing themselves at him, promising they’re “fully legal.”

The story doesn’t end there, however. In fact, it takes a very strange turn into what could possibly be one of the most ridiculous movie marketing schemes ever.

Two days ago, on April 1st, Yahoo! Movies released a new trailer for James Franco’s 2013 movie Palo Alto.

The trailer touts the film, which is directed by Gia Coppola, as being “Based on the book PALO ALTO: STORIES by JAMES FRANCO.” The book, which was released by James in 2011, is a collection of short stories published by Simon & Schuster. In it, a teenage girl is seduced by her much older teacher Mr. B, played by Franco.

So what do you think? Did James Franco legit try to hook up with a technically-legal-in-New-York-state teenager or is this some bizarre attempt to give a film based on stories written by James Franco himself that are suspiciously similar to what’s unfolding now?

[Images via Dlisted]