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By Kat Giantis
In what we sincerely hope was a viral attempt to promote his forthcoming film "Palo Alto," in which he plays a soccer coach drawn to a high school student, James Franco allegedly tried to meet up with a 17-year-old girl during an Instagram conversation that she later shared with the masses.
A little background: The actor, 35, supposedly met Scottish teen Lucy when she took a video of him outside the stage door of his Broadway show, "Of Mice and Men." He told her to tag him in the video, and she obliged.
In screenshots she later posted of their purported chat from the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Franco asks where she lives, how old she is (soon to turn 18), how long she'll be in New York, if she has a boyfriend (her reply: "Not if you're around"), her phone number (the convo eventually moves to text message) and where she's staying (his reply: "You're single? What's the hotel? Should I rent a room?").
Lucy's response to the latter was a very reasonable, "April Fools' was an hour ago, though."
A photo of Franco soon arrived, along with the message, "It's me. Yes or no? Tomorrow or Thurs?"
After a back-and-forth in which a disbelieving Lucy asks for "proper evidence" that he is, in fact, James Franco, and receives a "don't tell" when she points out that her "Scottish friends will never believe," the star seemingly gives in her to entreaties for proof ("I will meet you if you write my name on a piece of paper then send it to me with your face also in the picture) with a "Lucy"-inclusive selfie. It appears no meeting took place.
In since deleted declarations on his Instagram page, Franco denied any hookup activity ("I HOPE PARENTS KEEP THEIR TEENS AWAY FROM ME. Thank you") and issued a warning: "PLEASE DON'T DM IF YOU ARE UNDER 18, THANK YOU."
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