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How James Franco ended up in the 'Veronica Mars' movie

James Franco has played a rapping gangster in "Spring Breakers," created an art project about "Three's Company" and taken a recurring role on "General Hospital."

But “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas still wasn't certain the actor would consider a cameo in his feature-film version of the cult television series. In fact, he wasn't even sure of the best way to get him the script.

Spoiler alert: Key plot details follow. if you'd rather not know, please stop reading here.

Here's how it breaks down. In the film, we find Kristen Bell’s self-possessed detective back in her small California hometown, where she’s returned to figure out who killed a famous pop star. Veronica learns that some crucial video footage might be stored on a tablet given to the late musician and other celebrities at the MTV Movie Awards. To prove that the devices are bugged, she reaches out to one of the tablet recipients to investigate. The man in question? Franco.

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Much like in last year’s hit comedy “This Is the End,” Franco plays an exaggerated version of himself. Veronica suspects that the actor’s tablet might be bugged because embarrassing footage of Franco has recently gone viral on YouTube.

Thomas -- who wrote and directed the Kickstarter-funded movie -- knew any recognizable celebrity could essentially fit into the scene, but envisioned Franco in the role because of the actor’s penchant for making fun of himself. The filmmaker had a relationship with the visual effects supervisor on “Oz the Great and Powerful” -- in which Franco starred -- who was able to help him track down the actor’s email address.

Thomas immediately drafted an email to Franco saying he thought the “Spring Breakers” star would be great for the movie and attached a copy of the script.

“I also told him what an enormous ‘Freaks and Geeks’ fan I was,” Thomas said with a laugh, referring to the Judd Apatow-produced series Franco appeared in early in his career. “I said that if there was a movie version, I’d be the first to line up and donate $10,000 on Kickstarter. I mean, that’s the perfect show to illustrate something that was ripped away before it’s time.”

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True to his reputation, Franco was game. So game, in fact, he responded within five minutes--even though he had never seen the series. “This sounds like fun. I’m in," Thomas said Franco replied.

So how do the viral videos in the movie play? In one of them, Franco struggles to put on skinny jeans. In the other, he is hard-pressed to come up with words that rhyme with ‘orange.’

Guess he didn't watch that “60 Minutes” interview with Eminem.


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