James Franco won’t even admit he’s bisexual: “I’d tell you if I was”

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James Franco covers the October issue of The Advocate. The interview isn’t as joyous as Daniel Radcliffe’s Out Magazine just one month ago, but for Franco, it’s good. Better than that piece of sh-t performance art piece that was his Esquire profile. Franco talks in depth about his history playing gay or gay-friendly roles, and goes in depth with his discussion for his role as Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming Howl (costarring The Hamm!). The full Advocate piece is here (it’s long… and HARD), and these are the highlights:

The Advocate on Franco’s “gay cred”: In addition to the two gay-themed poems he adapted for student films (Frank Bidart’s “Herbert White” being the other), Franco portrayed a 17-year-old swimmer dating an older man in the gay indie film Blind Spot and Harvey Milk’s lover in Milk. He also French-kissed Will Forte on Saturday Night Live, took a queer studies course at NYU, and created performance art pieces about gender and sexual confusion. And then there’s Franco’s first solo art show this past summer in New York City; it featured video monologues with lines like “We’re all gender-f-cked—we’re all something in between, floating like angels.” And now, just in case Franco hasn’t confounded us enough (and blown the lid off the conventional thinking about how many gay projects an A-list actor can tackle without imploding), he’s taking on arguably his most challenging role yet: iconic gay poet Allen Ginsberg, a man who discovered within himself “mountains of homosexuality.”

Why does Franco take so many gay roles? “In this history of cinema, there are so many heterosexual love stories,” he whispers. “It’s so hammered, so done. It’s just not that interesting to me. It’s more interesting to me to play roles and relationships that haven’t been portrayed as often.”

Franco on whether he would tell people if he was bisexual: “Sure, I’d tell you if I was,” he says. “I guess the reason I wouldn’t is because I’d be worried that it would hurt my career. I suppose that’s the reason one wouldn’t do that, right? But no, that wouldn’t be something that would deter me. I’m going to do projects that I want to do. Everyone thinks I’m a stoner, and some people think I’m gay because I’ve played these gay roles. That’s what people think, but it’s not true. I don’t smoke pot. I’m not gay. But on another level, there’s something in me that is able to play roles like that in a way that’s convincing.”

On his favorite film, My Own Private Idaho: “I’ve loved that movie since before I was an actor, when I was in high school,” he says. “I suppose the aesthetics struck me. I loved the makeshift family, the idea that people could come together and survive. I loved the clothes. And I am sure the performances were what I was mostly drawn to, especially River’s. He’s vulnerable, quirky, cool, and clownish. He’s like James Dean and Charlie Chaplin. I am sure I was drawn to his character’s quirkiness and desire to be loved.”

On how he was raised: Though Franco didn’t know any openly gay people in his San Francisco Bay area high school (“It was not considered a good thing to be gay,” he says), he doesn’t remember ever having negative feelings about homosexuality. “My friends and I read the Beats, so we were familiar with gay characters,” he says. He also grew up in a liberal household—his mother is a poet and author—where he says it was OK to be unique and artistic.

His people are cool with the roles he takes: “You want to know what my agents did try to talk me out of?” he says. “General Hospital. They didn’t think me acting in a soap opera was the greatest idea. But they know that I’ve always wanted to do a movie about the Beats, so no one tried to stop me from playing Allen Ginsberg.”

On the poem “Howl”: “I don’t think I understood most of ‘Howl’ when I first read it,” Franco says. “I didn’t catch all the autobiographical and biographical references, and I certainly didn’t know what he was doing with tempo and lineation and syntax.”

The early years in Hollywood: “I used to approach acting with a very antagonistic [attitude],” he says. “I was very hard to get along with, and it made working in film very unpleasant. It also hurt my performances. Now I think about acting differently. I feel a little detached from acting, actually. I still work really hard, but for my own sanity—and everyone else’s—I’ve had to surrender the results.”

On criticisms of his writing: “I don’t want to sound defensive at all,” he says, sounding defensive, “but if websites like Gawker.com or PerezHilton.com don’t like my writing, I can live with that. There is this crazy phenomenon in the blogosphere that is so hostile to anyone being creative, and if I incur that hostility from people who’ve probably read five short stories in the last 10 years, it doesn’t really bother me. I applied to 15 creative writing Ph.D. programs. I got into 14. Some of them only accepted one fiction writer. I know there’s this idea that I’m getting a lot of opportunities because I’m a celebrity, and there certainly is truth to that, but it’s not like I’m coasting. I’m working all the time. Short of writing under an alias, I’m doing everything I can to treat this as seriously as I can.”

[From The Advocate]

See? He comes across really nice here. Yes, he’s artsy-fartsy. But at least he’s not trying so hard to seem like this intense, brooding artist. Plus, the pictures are pretty! I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to seeing Howl – Ginsberg was one of the great American writers and poets, and I think Franco will do a solid job playing him. Plus, you know, The Hamm. Of course.

Oh, and I’ve read tons of short stories in the past decade – I’m a short story person. I love short story authors like Capote, Fitzgerald, Joyce Carol Oates, Graham Greene, Rick Moody, Elizabeth George, Jhumpa Lahiri and many, many more – and Franco isn’t up to snuff. If he wants to keep at it, of course he should, and maybe in another five years he’ll be a solid short story writer. But that sh-t in Esquire was hideous.

Here’s the behind-the-scenes Advocate video:

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Photos courtesy of The Advocate.

 

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26 Responses to “James Franco won’t even admit he’s bisexual: “I’d tell you if I was””

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  1. Mari says:

    Well, to be honest, people aren’t exactly rushing to the front of the line to get a doctorate in creative writing…
    But he does look pretty in his reading glasses =)

  2. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    I think he is absolutely precious. :D

  3. mslewis says:

    I’m not really a fan but I think that cover is a very good picture of him. Also, I really think he would tell if he were gay or bi because that’s what creative, liberal people would do.

    And, good for him that he doesn’t allow Gawker or Perez to cramp his style. He’s right to ignore the blogosphere. Putting too much thought into those idiots could make a person crazy.

  4. Sarah says:

    I love him. After reading this, I kinda love him a little more. Although, I’m more surprised he doesn’t smoke weed than I am surprised he’s not bi. Even if he was bi, so what? It’s no one’s business but his!

  5. natalie says:

    i love james franco. I was hoping he was gay because I thought it was great all those model types couldn’t get him no matter how hard they tried but I guess they get the good looks and the sexiest man ever!

  6. Kitten says:

    “Also, I really think he would tell if he were gay or bi because that’s what creative, liberal people would do.”

    HA! This somment is cute and totally true :)

    Yeah I think he would have no problem saying is he was bi. He’s a total free spirit.
    He is so cute but I’m on the fence about the curls he’s been sporting lately…hmmmmmm….

  7. Tia C says:

    @ Sarah: I was more surprised at the not smoking pot as well, lol!

    And it really isn’t anyone’s business, but I think he would say so if he were bi. He seems like a guy with no shame in his game.

  8. Keyanna says:

    I don’t care. I would hit that.

  9. Mistral says:

    Ya, he does look pretty in reading glasses. His story wasn’t bad…It just wasn’t great. It was…mediocre.

  10. Mairead says:

    So.

    We’re going to have more of the idiotically-handsome Franco in this week’s HGF then?

    Pretty please? :twisted:

  11. nona says:

    I don’t think he is gay or bi. But I don’t think he would tell if he was.
    Either way he is a liar and a posser ;)

    Well…at least he is cute.

  12. Confuzzle says:

    Fugly, pretentious, junkie.

  13. DD says:

    You know what I would love to see. A posting about a homosexual celebrity like say: Elen Degeneres is a CLOSETED HETEROSEXUAL!!
    Maybe I’m being silly but why isn’t it fascinating to question open homosexual’s secret sexual orientation preferences?
    James Franco is hot.

  14. koala says:

    i think he comes across as really honest and cool. he is insightful and admits that he used to be difficult to work with… it takes a big person to cop to things of that nature. he’s real.

    i feel that it’s none of our business, but if he was bi, he’d say so.

  15. Charaze says:

    Good for James Franco that he doesn’t smoke crack! :-) Taking part of a gay role doesn’t fully make you gay. We have a local celebrity here who usually plays gay roles because he’s really a funny guy. He’s past his prime now but he is not gay.

  16. lala in nYc says:

    i like you, james. And the nerdy you is somehow even hotter. Hurray for nerdy black-rimmed reading glasses!

    I think we need a film with JGL and JF!

    But, for now, I’ll settle for both in HGF!

  17. Michael says:

    You shouldn’t link to an article where the only philosopher’s name you could remember was Socrates…the one guy who never wrote anything ever.

  18. I Choose Me says:

    “… and Franco isn’t up to snuff. If he wants to keep at it, of course he should, and maybe in another five years he’ll be a solid short story writer. But that sh-t in Esquire was hideous.”

    Word Kaiser! Word. Let me bring out my bitchy editor side and say – The dialogue was risible, the premise did not live up to its potential, the pacing was terrible and it lacked impact.

    I still like him though. :)

  19. natalie says:

    The Advocate should not have tried to out him by asking the question. What is he suppose to say? If he tells the truth he says right in the same answer it would hurt his career!

    Either way I love him. I just don’t think people should force the issue!

    Do gossip, don’t tell.

  20. Anne says:

    James Franco will always have a special place in my heart. Even if he can be a doof.

  21. Keyanna says:

    @nona – What exactly is he lying and posing about if you do not think he is gay or bi?

    @confuzzle – How do you know he is a junkie?

  22. nona says:

    He is saying that if he were gay, he would say it. I don’t believe it. If he were gay he would be in the closet as most gay actors in the industry.

  23. Keyanna says:

    @nona,
    I gotchu now.

    I just don’t know why people are obsessed with other people’s sexuality. I mean he’s either straight, gay, or both. We know all 3 of those sexualities exist, so who really cares?

  24. Jenny says:

    Creative writing? “Syntax?” Shut up and just look gorgeous – it’s likely your only forte. *yum*

  25. The Advocate should not have tried to out him by asking the question. What is he suppose to say? If he tells the truth he says right in the same answer it would hurt his career!

    Either way I love him. I just don’t think people should force the issue!

  26. JT says:

    Please, everyone knows that James Franco is at least bisexual or even a closeted gay man. It’s not THAT hard to tell.