James Franco Just Can’t Stop Talking About the Sean Penn Kiss

While discussing the upcoming film Milk in his interview with Lynn Hirschberg for the New York Times, James Franco tells her “I will be asked what it was like to kiss Sean Penn about a million times.”

Franco_2And it appears we really will have to hear the story a million times too, whether he’s asked or not. In his new cover story with GQ, Franco tells the story again, from a different angle.

“In Milk, Franco plays Scott Smith, who for many years was Harvey Milk’s boyfriend. In filming a key moment between Franco and Penn, Van Sant was partially inspired by a work by the artist Douglas Gordon in which a man and a woman are filmed kissing. ‘It just looked very real,’ says Van Sant, who was surprised to discover that Franco, who has a keen interest in art and its practitioners, knew Gordon. He also knew that, in order to capture such a natural kiss on film, Gordon had cast two people who didn’t know each other and instructed them to kiss for twelve hours. ‘Douglas was worried that he contributed to Sean and I having to kiss for twelve hours,’ says Franco. ‘It wasn’t twelve hours, but it certainly felt like it. The first kiss of the movie was out on Haight Street, with, like, 200 people watching, outside. It was a crane shot—I’m sure in the end it will be a really cool shot, but it starts close and then it takes maybe a minute. That’s a long time on film with everybody watching and, like, a fake mustache getting in your mouth. It was long enough that you couldn’t help thinking, ‘Oh, my God, I’m kissing Spicoli.’”

FrancogqThen there was the nervous, giggly prosthetic penis envy and the additional love scenes.

So as not to risk disillusioning the movie’s built-in audience, perhaps one of these times Franco could talk about how it really allowed him to tap into that gay side of himself that wanted, really wanted to just make love to Sean Penn with all his soul. Or perhaps one of the stock answers that it’s just acting and he wanted to treat the story about the nation’s first gay elected official with respect. Or, he could just shut up.

First Look: James Franco, Wet & Woeful [popwrap]

James Franco Talks About Kissing Sean Penn [tr]
James Franco on Sean Penn’s Penis Envy in Milk [tr]


  1. says

    What’s with all the Franco hate all of a sudden? He’s a good and extremely Gay-friendly actor who will get many people into the cinemas to watch a Gay movie who wouldn’t ordinarily be there, and be shown that we’re ordinary folks, not tools of the devil. Save the anger for actors who are homophobic dicks, like Isiaah Washington, and movies that are casually homophobic, like X FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE with its married Gay psychopaths…

  2. Christian says

    Sounds to me like JF had his first gay kiss, didn’t find it to be as funky as he thought it might be, and is just spreading the good news. I think it’s cute! He should record a boys version of “I Kissed A Girl”, lol.

  3. patrick nyc says

    Anyone who was reading Andy’s site when Brokeback came out will recall the same shit being said about Ledger and Jake. These guys have to do the media circus, it’s in their contracts. They are doing their best with all the bs and agents telling them what to do.

  4. Smartypants says

    Please stop the “Milk was first” meme.

    Harvey Milk’s election and assassination were major landmarks in gay history, but he was not the first openly gay person elected to office in the U.S.

    At least three people, Elaine Noble (MA legislature), Allan Spears (MN legislature), and Kathy Kozachenko (Ann Arbor, MI City Council) were all elected by 1975. Milk did not win office until 1977.

  5. Strepsi says

    I disagree JP and WIRRN. I love Franco, but the whole Q&A dance actually IS “casually homophobic”. Immature reporters ask actors OMG! You kissed (giggle) a GUY (giggle). At which point the actor has to make some cute self-deprecating story about how uncool it was. Franco should be smart enough to know, if you fall into that trap (as he is) you are saying you are a BAD ACTOR. How come whenever an actor plays a killer like the Joker, they say “Yeah, I had to go to a scary place in myself. It was hard to shake off” — but — when they play gay they NEVER say “Yeah I was really getting turned on by Sean. I went to a really interesting gay part of myself.” I fucking hate the media.

  6. thin mint says

    I’m reminded of John Cameron Mitchell’s story about eating pussy for the final scene of Shortbus.

    He doesn’t say he “went to a really interesting straight part of myself” — he says it was okay, but kind of weird.


    “I said, ‘Alright, I’ll do something I haven’t done — I’ll eat pussy.’ So I eat pussy for the first time in one shot. I didn’t get turned on, but I realized that from that angle I could see the actors and could continue to direct them, so that was fun.”

    and elsewhere:

    “I am admitting that pussy don’t rock my boat … But it was better than craft service!”

    Does this make John Cameron Mitchell a bad actor? Maybe he doesn’t HAVE an interesting straight part of himself.

  7. GBM says

    I agree and good quotes, Thin Mint. I don’t see what’s so homophobic or offensive about Franco’s comments…if I were kissing a girl and her fake mustache kept making its way into my mouth, I would characterize that as memorably awkward experience.

  8. DallasLeePark says

    Franco seems to be quite comfortable with his “gay side.” In interviews about “Pineapple Express,” he describes the movie as a “love story between a drug dealer and his customer.” And that’s exactly how he plays it. He’s the best thing about the movie, and he plays the homoerotic moments sweetly (of course, he IS supposed to be stoned) and not condescendingly.

  9. gay as life says

    The Franco quotes are an attempt to de-sexualize a gay role through humor. The Cameron Mitchell quotes are not, and no one could accuse JCM of shying away from any sexuality. The comparison is spurious.

    It’s typical Hollywood BS. Not particularly offensively homophobic, but content to reduce us to asexual jesters yet again.

  10. Paul R says

    I’ve kissed women quite a few times and don’t think I’ve ever found it unpleasant. I like kissing.

    I’ve kissing men with moustaches maybe twice and found it a bit awkward. So what does that make me?

    I guess my point is that I can see both sides of the story here. I’m not sure why Franco or anyone else would be too freaked by kissing anyone reasonably attractive. But I can see why an unusual experience would be, umm, unusual. It wasn’t in a private room; it was on Haight St. in front of 200 people. Seems like they should have practiced first.

  11. Mrs Patrick Campbell says

    James is an obvious homosexual, we can see this without even reading the story! And we can certainly understand why she would get ‘the vapors’ kissing hot sean. And don’t forget that with sean’s eastern european jewish heritage there is sure to be a large thick sausage in his pants. We can only speculate if James’ lips tasted that long fat sausage!

  12. JP says

    Thin Mint : “casually homophobic”? That’s pretty vague and seems like a reach to me. It would be a good idea to remember that only a fraction of any given interview makes it onto the page. How a celebrity comes off can be impacted a great deal by the editing process.

    Franco has given a lot of interviews about both the Gay aspects of Milk and Pineapple Express’s “bromance”. To me he just seems like a 20-something actor having a good time but who is also, at heart, very serious about his work. If he were truly homophobic it would eventually become more clear based on the perponderance of interviews. I can’t think why he’d take the role in Milk if he were really homophobic. He’s isn’t hurting too much for high profile roles.

    Anyway, I just don’t interpret his quotes as homophobic in any way. Juvenile and silly, sure. But then, that’s something I find appealing about him.

  13. says

    Andy, the next time you have a film role in which you have to kiss a girl, I’d be curious to see how much you talk about “tapping into the straight part of yourself.” Ridiculous. There’s nothing even remotely homophobic about James Franco’s comments.

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