James Franco feels he

James Franco feels he "can take anything" after enduring a lot of criticism

James Franco claims he ‘can take anything’ after attracting a lot of criticism in recent years because he doesn’t ‘need to be liked’ anymore

James Franco feels he “can take anything” after enduring a lot of criticism in recent years.

The ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ star – who is rumoured to be dating actress Ashley Benson – insists he doesn’t let things get to him anymore because he doesn’t “need to be liked”.

The 34-year-old actor told Bullett magazine’s spring issue: “Criticism can sting but not for long. At this point I’ve heard it all, good and bad. I can take anything.

“If anyone wants to say that my doing these things makes me a jerk, that’s not about me–that’s about people reacting to me. I don’t need to be liked for anything I do. I put out a lot of different kinds of material, and maybe people read that as egotistical.

“Or maybe, since a lot of it does involve some aspect of me, they find it self-aggrandising. But there’s a long tradition of artists using themselves.

“Look, I know I’m not perfect. And, who knows, maybe a part of it has to do with self-obsession. But it’s also about using this weird thing that is a public persona as raw material for creative projects.”

James’ co-star and good pal Mila Kunis, 29, also defended the actor, who has regularly attracted the wrath of critics since hosting the Oscars in 2011.

She said: “I think people would be surprised by what a calm and decent person he is. I don’t want to get too personal but he’s very humble. People know that he’s well-educated and that he’s well-read, but they might not know that he’s also a really good guy.”

James previously claimed he lost advertising deals because the companies were unhappy with him backing films about gay sex and the porn industry.

The actor recently produced ‘Kink’, a documentary about a hardcore porn studio, and directed ‘Interior: Leather Bar’ – which features gay sex scenes – and he admitted working on such daring projects impacted other elements of his career.