8. Shooting one of many contentious scenes with Franco, Philipps recalled her onscreen love interest telling her to slap him as hard as she could. “I slapped him repeatedly, so hard that his skin was turning bright red,” she wrote in her book. “I felt really weird about doing it, but at the same time, he asked me to, so I went for it. I just wanted to be a good actor.”
In 2012, Philipps told Vanity Fair that, because their characters were presumed to come from tough home lives, they were physically rough with each other, and when he would be aggressive with her, she’d give it right back. “We had a real intense thing when we worked together,” she said. But in her 2018 book, she recalled Franco being particularly rude to her, which at the time she insecurely attributed to him thinking that she wasn’t a good actor. She wrote that, during a scene where their characters are pelted with water balloons, the director had told her to smack his chest and plead, “Dammit Daniel, do something!” But when she did, Franco shoved her and knocked her down, and screamed, “Don’t ever touch me again!”
Feig and Apatow told Franco he needed to apologize, which he did after watching the footage of the interaction and admitting it “was pretty mean.” Philipps accepted his apology, but in hindsight she chalked it up to a talented actor being able to charm forgiveness out of her. It was a “boys club,” she wrote, so what could she expect? That was just the way it worked.
Franco did not publicly address Philipps’ 2018 recollections. She reiterated on Instagram at the time, however, “James apologized. I accepted. And I still get to tell it because s–t happened to me.” They’ve talked about it over the years, she also said during a Q&A with The Hollywood Reporter, and “at one point he apologized to me.”