James Franco and Chris O'Dowd shine in 'Of Mice and Men' on Broa - FOX 32 News Chicago

James Franco and Chris O'Dowd shine in 'Of Mice and Men' on Broadway

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I wasn't quite sure what to expect from James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Broadway's "Of Mice and Men." But in the end both of them blew me away. The show is a must-see this Broadway season, especially if you've always been fond of the novel.

I haven't been able to shake the memory of George and Lenny since I first read "Of Mice and Men" in English class. I'd describe Franco and O'Dowd's performances the same way: unforgettable. Ironically, O'Dowd -- who plays Lenny -- remembers John Steinbeck's classic novel differently.

"I can barely remember it," O'Dowd said. "Once a book is on the syllabus you just think it's trash."

He and "127 Hours' star Franco anchor the tender friendship between two migrant workers, whose big American dreams are dashed at every turn during the Great Depression. Franco plays the brains of the operation: the in-charge, overbearing George Milton.

"For a big movie star, which he is, never tries to take the limelight," O'Dowd said. "He's a very giving, kind guy." O'Dowd is well known for playing Officer Rhoades in the 2011 comedy "Bridesmaids," a far cry from this role as mentally challenged gentle giant Lenny.

"Chris does it so well that I don't have to think about it, I don't have to think, 'Oh this is Chris O'Dowd playing a character,'" Franco said. "I can just respond to the character."

These two are so devoted to these characters you can't help but get swept up in Steinbeck's beautiful, devastating tragedy.

"Chris and James just get such a beautiful life to each other, such a happiness between those two characters," said Joel Marsh Garland, who plays Carlson.

"They really bonded in the rehearsal process which shows on the stage in their performance," said Ron Cephas Jones, who plays Crooks.

The brilliant supporting cast is just as captivating. Jim Norton as Candy nearly steals the show. "Gossip Girl" alum Leighton Meester shines in her Broadway debut and holds it down as the only female in the cast.

"They're actors. And their just normal, awesome guys, and so they're very in touch with their sensitivity," Meester said.

Franco is famous for playing up his sensitive side both on stage and online. His notorious Instagram account is littered with sensitive bedroom selfies. I asked him what it all means.

"It's a place where I get to blend together a lot of different aspects of my life," Franco said. "I see what people respond to so sometimes I give that to them."

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