James Franco and Bryan Cranston’s 2016 Christmas comedy “Why Him?” was a small hit for 20th Century Fox, grossing $60 million domestically opposite a $30 million budget, but it might have been an even bigger attraction if audiences knew what exactly inspired the film’s plot. Franco recently appeared on Variety’s Actors on Actors series and revealed “Why Him?” is based on Jonah Hill’s relationship with Dustin Hoffman’s daughter.
“Jonah was talking to Ben Stiller on the set of [Night at the Museum 2] and he’s like, ‘Oh man, I’m going to go on vacation with Dustin Hoffman. Like, I don’t know him.’ And it was really early in his relationship,” Franco said. “And he was really, like, nervous about it and he’d make a bad impression or something like that. And the producer, Shawn Levy, overheard it. He’s like, ‘That’s a great story.'”
Franco was taking part in the Variety interview series with Dustin Hoffman himself, who quickly verified the story by telling Franco it was true. “Why Him?” starred Cranston as a father who tries to stop his daughter from dating a rowdy and immature tech millionaire, played by Franco. Watch Franco and Hoffman’s interview below.