James Franco: writer, poet, not gay
Great article in The Advocate, cover subject James Franco.
They straight up ask him if he’s gay. He says he’s not. The journalist keeps pressing and concludes that Franco, indeed, is not gay. It’s not People Magazine, it’s The Advocate. But somehow, like Jake Gyllenhaal, people keep thinking he’s gay because he’s played gay. It’s not a terribly strong argument.
“If you were gay or bisexual, would you tell me?” I ask him. “Are we at a point where someone like yourself could matter-of-factly come out without the world stopping for a day or two?”
He smiles and glances out the window. One of the college students shuffles closer. “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.”
But there’s really so much more to the story which, of course, has been timed to the release of the upcoming Howl, in which Franco plays Allen Ginsberg, fulfilling evidently what was a lifelong dream, especially since he claims to have wanted to work on something about the Beats since he was teenager. There follows a discussion about his preparation for the role, and about his preparation for all of his roles, juggling school and acting and writing. Yes, of course, the writing. Short stories, which you’ve read, which I’ve already addressed, and apparently also poetry. A writer and a poet.
It really is a good read. But let me highlight one of my favourite passages:
“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.”
Trying hard doesn’t make someone good at something.
What he is good at is acting. Howl is a nice complement to 127 Hours which is generating a LOT of buzz on the festival circuit about his performance, so impressive that he’s now considered among the early 5 for a nomination for Best Actor. Does this compliment mean less because I’m a blogger?
Click here to read the article. And below – the video shoot.