James Franco and “The Lucy Clode Affair”

Confirmed: The creepy Instagram chat James Franco had with a 17-year-old was not a publicity stunt for his upcoming film Palo Alto — in which the star plays a high school soccer coach who strikes up a romantic relationship with a teenage student. James apparently took “method acting” a wee bit too far when he engaged in a cringeworthy conversation with Lucy Clode, a Scottish school-girl he met earlier this week.

Clode was in New York City getting an early start on 18th birthday celebrations when she had a chance meeting with Franco. The actor had just wrapped up a performance of Broadway’s Of Mice and Men and was all too pleased to engage in a little friendly selfie-taking and chatty banter with the teenager.

A bit too friendly, perhaps.

Days later, Lucy went public with the conversation, during which James asked the girl: “Do you have a BF,” and “Should I rent a room?” The planned hookup never took place only because Lucy backed out at the last minute.

Despite speculation that the Lucy encounter was part of an elaborate hoax to drum up publicity for Palo Alto, the actor, 35, came clean about the humiliating incident during an appearance on Live! With Kelly and Michael Friday. James admits he was, indeed, trying to pull an R. Kelly.

“I was feeling awkward – I didn’t want to come on the show and just feel awkward. I’m embarrassed and I guess I’m just a model of how social media is tricky. It’s way that people meet each other today, but what I’ve learned, I guess because I’m new to it, is you don’t know who’s on the other end. You get a feel for them, you don’t know who you’re talking to. I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson.”

What do you think of James’ admission?