James Franco Explains His Gay(ish) Sexuality And Deep “Obsession” With Gay Culture

In the name of art!

James Franco further discusses his “obsession” with gay culture and queer topics in film in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, whose cover appropriately hails the interview as a look into “The Mystery of James Franco” and, more specifically, what drives him creatively.

Citing the countless queer narratives he’s worked on, from Milk to Interior. Leather. Bar., I Am Michael and The Broken Tower — and indirectly hinting at others, like the Straight James/Gay James book of poetry he published in December and the publicity he cooked up over a fake ’gay relationship’ with his best friend — the magazine attempts to find the source of James’ fascination with everything gay.

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“When I was studying at NYU, I took classes in critical studies, and one of my favorites was on queer cinema,” James explained. “We’ve told the straight, heteronormative stories ad nauseam by now, in our movies, our shows, our commercials – everywhere. I think it’s healthy to make work that disrupts and questions that, and shows alternative narratives. That’s what an artist should do.”

The interview also resurfaces a quote James gave in a 2015 interview with Dot429, where he said he was “gay in my art and straight in my real life” as well as “gay…up to the point of intercourse” in an attempt to unpack his own sexuality and what it means:

The line separating art from life can grow porous, as on Franco’s Instagram, where he’s posted numerous homoerotic shots of himself – bare-chested in an exercise room, his arm slung around an oiled-up actor in bikini briefs, or looking buff while getting his nipples shaved in a hotel room. Franco tells me he’s approached Instagram, at times, as “a way of finding out what boundaries are and pressing buttons.”

One of James’ upcoming queer projects is the hotly anticipated King Cobra, which recounts the murder of gay porn producer Bryan Kocis. The film, starring Franco, Alicia Silverstone, Christian Slater, Molly Ringwald and Keegan Allen, is expected for an April 16 release.

Matthew Tharrett is a writer, filmmaker, and above all else, a Britney fan. He once shared a milkshake with Selena Gomez.
@mattharrett