James Franco

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James Franco has starred in blockbuster action flicks, raunchy comedies, quirky art-house flicks and now he's here at the Cannes Film Festival to talk about...his return to General Hospital?!

Not really. The Golden Globe-nominated star is hitting the French Riviera to promote a new short film and Howl, his indie biopic about beat poet Allen Ginsberg, but the Spider-Man actor had plenty to tell E! News about reprising his role as bad-boy performance artist Franco on ABC's soap opera next month.

So why is an in-demand movie star back on the small screen?

"I find doing the soap very interesting, and I like doing it because it's a different kind of acting," the 32-year-old Franco said. "It's been a good outlet for me, and they've been very open and welcoming. It's a lot of fun."

The actor revealed that one of the upcoming episodes will also incorporate a major gallery exhibition, a fitting locale for Port Charles' conniving artist-in-residence.

"We're going do a special episode at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. That will be the culmination," he said.

No word when filming will take place, but he's slated to codirect that tie-in special. His guest arc is scheduled to kick off on June 30.

Franco took time off from the big screen this year to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he directed a number of short films using his fellow NYU classmates as crew (sure beats hitting the books). He's also pursuing a separate degree in poetry in the graduate writing program at Columbia.

He tells E! News that both artistic endeavors have helped to inspire his budding career as a filmmaker.

Case in point: his latest short, The Clerk's Tale, which premieres on Cannes' closing night. It tells the tale of a gay man trapped in the dull confines of a high-end menswear store and was inspired by a Spencer Reece poem.

But he's not ready to give up his day job as one of Hollywood's hottest stars. He's looking at shooting a new movie this summer in between semesters, and he's also due to appear in the Julia Roberts rom-com Eat Pray Love.

Franco will then flex his acting chops in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, playing Aron Ralston, the hiker who famously cut off his arm after getting it caught underneath a boulder.

Guess General Hospital wasn't available.

Keep up with the latest Cannes scoop by following E! Online on Twitter.

See the stars in our Cannes 2010: Star Sightings gallery!

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