James Franco doesn’t give a shit if you think he’s gay.
In the March issue of Attitude Magazine, he claims to be perfectly comfortable with the rampant speculation about his sexuality and happily admits that he fuels that fire with the choices he makes, like portraying gay characters in films, being photographed in drag, and occasionally having sex with men. (Just kidding! He doesn’t go as far as admitting that last one … but apparently doesn’t mind if you want to believe it.)
Regardless of his personal orientation, ol’ Jimmy definitely has sex on the brain.
Right now, he’s out and about promoting the Disney film “Oz The Great and Powerful” (in which he plays the Wizard of), but … in rather stark contrast … his other recent work includes much racier fare, such as a documentary he produced called “Kink” about the world’s largest producer of BDSM porn, and the movie “Interior. Leather Bar” which he co-produced, directed, and stars in. Take a wild guess from the title what it’s about.
At Sundance earlier this year, where both of the latter movies premiered, James was questioned by MTV about the persistently gay sex-y themes in his recent work, and he replied with characteristic ambiguity.
“Sex and sexuality are such big parts of our lives — the ways that we define ourselves, the ways that we interact with each other.”
Quite true. So are you gay or not? In Attitude, James acknowledges that his own sexuality is the source of a large part of his public intrigue, and that he doesn’t necessarily work to clarify it.
“One of the things that’s very much part of my public image is the question of my sexuality. It’s not something that bothers me in the slightest. … It’s partly my doing and partly not my doing.”
James goes on to explain why he feels some people still choose not to openly embrace their sexuality, even today.
“I think that the people I have known who are performers who haven’t publicly come out didn’t because they’re afraid it’ll hurt their careers. And they’re afraid they won’t be able to play straight roles anymore.”
This begs the question of why he doesn’t come right out with it himself. James has portrayed a number of gay characters in movies, including gay rights activist Scott Smith in 2008’s Milk (in which the world got to enjoy some hot action between he and Sean Penn … or a little kissing anyway), and poet Allen Ginsberg in 2010’s Howl. He maintains, however, that you don’t have to be gay to take on a gay role. What? Are you an actor or something, Mr Fancy Franco, that you would consider playing characters that might not be like you? How revolutionary. In 2011, James told Entertainment Weekly:
“There are lots of other reasons to be interested in gay characters than wanting myself to go out and have sex with guys.”
He further explained what draws him to the characters is not necessarily their sexuality.
“Part of what I’m interested in is how these people who were living anti-normative lifestyles contended with opposition. Or, you know what, maybe I’m just gay.”
Finally, he said it.
James was a cast member of “Freaks and Geeks,” one of the greatest shows ever on television, so for that reason alone it’s impossible not to love him. I will grant that he’s a bit pretentious with the way he constantly takes and teaches college classes when he should be mindlessly basking in his handsomeness and stardom on a yacht somewhere with Leonardo DiCaprio and lots of bikini-clad people. And his contemptuously filthy appearance (not in a sexy/filthy way, but in a smelly/unshowered/filthy way) can be frustrating because he is so classically attractive. That said, he’s interesting … as an actor and even as an artist … and it’s hard not to appreciate someone in today’s celebrity culture who you can actually believe doesn’t give a shit. Or much of one, anyway.