“Everybody fucking watches porn!” shouts James Franco, a wide smile on his face, after watching two men engage in sadomasochistic sex just ten feet from him. “They just don’t want to talk about it.”
That’s a moment from Franco’s newest film, a Sundance entry that people definitely will want to talk about this week: Titled Interior. Leather Bar., it’s a 60-minute experimental project that finds Franco and co-director Travis Mathews re-creating 40 sexually charged minutes of “lost footage” from William Friedkin’s controversial 1980 gay thriller Cruising. At least that’s the initial plan; once Franco and Mathews are on set, with extras milling around in various forms of undress, it becomes clear that fidelity to the source material is a low priority. Really, the Cruising tie-in is just a pretext for Franco to explore gay sexuality, a theme that recurs so often in his work that rumors continue to be fanned about his own orientation.
Just take a look at Franco’s C.V.: In addition to his most high-profile gay role, playing Sean Penn’s lover in Milk, the 34-year-old has also directed the full-frontal-filled short The Feast of Stephen, filmed a movie about gay Rebel Without a Cause actor Sal Mineo, and played gay poets Allen Ginsberg in Howl and Hart Crane in The Broken Tower, the latter of which Franco directed himself and finds him fellating a prosthetic penis in artfully directed close-up. It’s no wonder that in the trailer for Franco’s upcoming apocalypse comedy This Is the End, where several movie stars play themselves, his co-star Danny McBride cracks, “James Franco didn’t suck any dick last night? Now I know y’all are tripping.”
( But why would a mainstream movie star be so interested in gay sexuality if he were straight? Collapse )