This is kind of a weird coincidence . . . if it IS a coincidence.  Earlier this week, JAMES FRANCO was accused of trying to hook up with a 17-year-old girl online.

She was supposedly a tourist from Scotland who was visiting New York with her mother.  She met Franco at his Broadway show "Of Mice and Men" and took an Instagram video with him.

James asked her to tag him in it, and when she did, they started talking, and he tried to arrange a meeting.  She leaked a bunch of screen shots Wednesday to "prove" it. 



After their conversation went public, Franco Tweeted, quote, "I HOPE PARENTS KEEP THEIR TEENS AWAY FROM ME.  Thank you." 

Well, there's a potential new development to this story.  In his new movie "Palo Alto", Franco plays the coach of a girls' high school soccer team who GETS IT ON with one of his players . . . who's played by EMMA ROBERTS. 

The trailer hit the web the same day this "controversy" broke.  The movie is based on a book of short stories that was written by . . . James Franco. 


The question is . . . Is this dalliance with a minor some kind of viral marketing tool to hype the movie . . . or is that too weird even for James Franco?