Watch James Franco Get into the Sexuality of ‘Interior. Leather Bar.’ at Sundance

James Franco, when not reciting poems about President Obama, can be found floating around Sundance promoting not two, but three films. There’s the BDSM documentary he produced, Kink, his role as Hugh Hefner in Rob Epstein’s Lovelace, and the divisive Interior. Leather bar. Co-directed with Travis Mathews, Leather Bar., attempts to recreate the lost 40 minutes of William Friedkin’s Cuising, the controversial 1980 film about a cop (played by Al Pacino) who goes undercover as gay leather enthusiast to apprehend a killer. The film premiered this weekend and this is what people are saying about it thus far:

  • But while Leather Bar will surely make some viewers itchy, its most compelling subject isn’t whether straight guys can stand to watch one man pleasuring another. More interesting is the question of what would make this project art as opposed to porn. Is it just the participation of a movie star? Is it heady intent? (The Hollywood Reporter)
  • Occasionally, we glimpse an evasive Franco sounding off about social norms. "Beautiful and attractive" is how he describes gay sex. His friend Lauren fires back, "You’re going to be in a Disney movie for Christsakes." Like many of his pet projects, it’s mercifully short (albeit, a drawn-out 60 minutes) and odd. (The Guardian)
  • "Interior. Leather Bar" visualizes the discourse its subjects struggle to put into words. Mathews says the project aims to help "inform choices," but mainly showcases choices that have already been made. Lauren voices the central issue plaguing the movie with the biggest question it leaves unresolved — whether the filmmakers intend to use the footage "to make a certain point or want it to be what it is." (Indiewire)

Interesting points, surely. But if you’d rather just hear what Franco and Mathwws has to say about it, check out the video from this weekend’s Sundance Q&A.

James Franco To Direct Sort-Of Remake of William Friedkin’s ‘Cruising’

James Franco loves gay dudes. I’m not saying that James Franco is gay, but he sure is a gay sex enthusiast. Do with that what you will. Anyway, the modern Renaissance man is hard at work on a new project called James Franco Cruising, which is a film inspired by William Friedkin’s 1980 pile of garbage Cruising, in which Al Pacino plays a straight (question mark?) cop who goes deep into the underbelly of the terrifying gay S&M world of New York City to nab a gay serial killer preying on twinks and otters. It’s a very subtle film, as you can imagine.

Of course, Fanco is teaming up with gay porn director Travis Mathews (N.B. All gay porn associates have two first names) to make, I’m sure, a very tasteful and interesting film about James Franco’s two favorite subjects, which are, obviously, gay sex and James Franco. Per Indiewire:

According to Mathews, Franco wanted to update the film, but he couldn’t get the rights. As Mathews’ gay art porn/drama "I Want Your Love" was getting press attention, Franco’s people emailed Mathews to ask him to talk about the film. Within 24 hours, they were talking.

"He knew he wanted real gay sex in it," Travis said. "His people went looking for a filmmaker who had filmed real gay sex, and I suspect someone who would complement his vision. We talked about why we would be interested in still looking at this film. We talked about his interest in the film and his interest more broadly in so many gay-themed stories and visionairies. He’s worked with so many in front of and behind the cameras over the years."

Mathews, who plays himself and directs, and Franco, who also plays himself and produces, decided to document the recreation of the 40 minutes that were lost from the film after an intense battle with the MPAA to change its rating from X to R.

"[Friedkin] cut the film down at his own expense," Mathews said. "Recently, when he was getting ready to do an anniversary edition, Warner Bros. told him that the footage was destroyed. It’s possible those 40 minutes implicate Pacino’s character in the gay S&M culture. That was the place we started from as a launching point: James Franco’s version of those lost 40 minutes."

To learn more about what those 40 minutes could contain, Mathews spoke to two extras. "These guys were real New York gays, patrons of bars like the one in the film. The production was so concerned with the protestors that the extras would be picked up by buses to be taken to the set at an undisclosed location."

They found some real New York gays, you guys. Wherever did they scrounge them up?! Anyway, blah blah blah. James Franco is doing something involving low-brow art and artists, et shitera et shitera. I think I’m more annoyed that he’s so hell-bent on coopting gay sex from, you know, MY people.

Now, this new version of Cruising better have the best scene of the original cruising, in which a giant black man in a jockstrap bitch-slaps Al Pacino in the middle of a police interrogation for no reason at all: