James Franco has truly out-Franco'd himself this time. In an article he wrote for 429 Magazine, James Franco interviews his inner gay man. As far as we can tell from an excerpt, the talk looks to be equal parts thoughtful meditation on gender and sexuality, and inscrutable moment of quintessential Franco-ness.
The piece isn't available in full yet, but thankfully Slate got a hold of a selection. Slate's J. Bryan Lowder describes the conversation between Franco's two halves ("Gay James" and "Straight James") as an "only occasionally cutesy" discourse on the implications of sexuality and gender identity. Plenty of Franco's work focuses on that very subject, and it was really only a matter of time before you got his straight and gay personalities in a room together. At one point, Straight James gets real with Gay James, and the following exchange occurs:
Straight James: Let’s get substantial: are you f--king gay or what?
Gay James: Well, I like to think that I’m gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I’m also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I’m straight. So I guess it depends on how you define gay. If it means whom you have sex with, I guess I’m straight. In the twenties and thirties, they used to define homosexuality by how you acted and not by whom you slept with. Sailors would f--k guys all the time, but as long as they behaved in masculine ways, they weren’t considered gay.
Touché, J. Franks!
Part of you may be saying to yourself: "James, this is the height of your ridiculousness." Because, barring the possibility that Franco has dissociative identity disorder or a series of clones, there is only one James Franco. Him pretending like he exists in multiple form for the sake of art is classic Franco.
To give him credit where it's due, he's also calling attention to an interesting aspect of sexual orientation and identity. Even though sexuality is a fluid, complicated human feeling, the cultural proscriptions for how people should behave in regards to their sexual orientation are rigid, arbitrary, and limiting. I think it's cool that Franco is complicating these ideas by suggesting that sexual identity and sexual orientation are different things. Furthermore, if Gay James and Straight James were sitting by me at a coffee shop having this discussion, I would totally record the entire thing. Throw in Riff Raff-Franco, and you have a reality show.
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