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James Franco on Sean Penn's Penis Envy in Milk


James Franco appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to talk about Pineapple Express but he seemed much more interested in talking about Milk, and his experience wearing a prosthetic penis in scenes with Sean Penn.

Franco_pennSaid Franco: "When I read the script, there was like, one kissing scene. No problem. It's acting....So, but as soon as I signed on I get a new script. Page five, like, full-on love scene. There's like three to five new love scenes in the movie. Gus! What's goin' on? And he said, well, Sean wants it. Sean asked for the love scene."

Added Franco: "Sean's doin it. If he wants to do it, who am I to say no? So the first day of shooting I had to do this scene where everybody else is in clothes and I have to dive into the pool naked. And I was very uncomfortable but the make-up artist on the day handed me this prosthetic penis and said here, you can wear this. It'll make you more comfortable...The scene went on for a long time, like half the day. It's just getting old — diving into this pool naked. And I go over to Sean and I guess he didn't know I was wearing a prosthetic. And I said to Sean, 'You are such a great actor. You wouldn't do a scene like this if they asked . You wouldn't dive into the pool naked,' and he said, not knowing I was wearing a prosthetic he said, 'Well James, if I was built like you, I would.' I didn't say anything. Cut to a couple weeks later we did this scene. We're both dancing and we're both naked, and we both now had prosthetic penises. He finally put it together that I'm wearing the Boogie Nights prosthetic. And he said 'James that time in the pool!' And I said 'Yeah I was wearing the prosthetic.' And he said 'God, I'm so relieved.' And then, he's like 'You show me your prosthetic, I'll show you mine.'"

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Maybe it's the questions he's being asked, but I'm already tired of Mr. Franco's junior high school "tee-hee - I was naked with a guy and he saw my fake penis!" and "I had to kiss this guy but it was just acting and then we talked about sports" approach to discussing his role. I understood that "Milk" is a serious movie about the rise and then assassination of a gay politician -- not a Judd Apatow teen sex comedy.

    Posted by: Buster | Aug 8, 2008 10:28:31 AM

  2. Wow, James Franco just set a land-speed record for quickest time from brooding hottie to full-on douche.

    Posted by: jeffy | Aug 8, 2008 10:36:42 AM

  3. Why was there any need for prosthetic penises at all? You would think that two established actors could be comfortable enough with their own bodies to handle the nudity. I can see why one was used in a movie like "Boogie Nights" where the size of the character was part of the story, but her it seems the device was only used so the actors wouldn't be showing their real goods. If that's the case, the director should have avoided showing full nudity or hire actors who wouldn't have a problem with it. I can't see an audience wanting to watch full nudity on screen if they knew it was we all do now.

    Posted by: Patrick | Aug 8, 2008 10:39:54 AM

  4. Man on man kissing, love scenes, prosthetic penis'? I can't wait to see his boogie nights.

    Posted by: davefromtampa | Aug 8, 2008 10:44:37 AM

  5. "Straight" actors are such fools when it comes to gay parts. Can they even comprehend how many gay actors - both closeted and not - have to make out with women as part of their performances? All those homos are hardly freaked out to kiss the gender of someone they're not attracted to.

    Grow a set, James! Bust through the homophobia. Oh, and P.S., you're getting PAID to assume a character. I'll fucking make out with Sean Penn, if you'd like. Or Kate Hudson or whoever you're going to be kissing in some lame romantic comedy next.


    Posted by: DUH | Aug 8, 2008 10:50:15 AM

  6. Why are they even wearing prosthetic peni? Did Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon requests prosthetic breasts? No. So bizarre.

    Posted by: John in Manhattan | Aug 8, 2008 10:55:30 AM

  7. > I can't see an audience wanting to watch full nudity on screen if they knew it was we all do now.

    Oh, I don't know--if they're there to watch the *film*, they're not going to care. If they're there to act like a bunch of idiot third-grades who point and snicker, "There's James' peepee!", then yeah, they might be disappointed.

    Here's a hint--it's a movie. It's all fake.

    Posted by: Scott | Aug 8, 2008 11:17:21 AM

  8. aww, why are some of you such bitches? he didn't say anything against gays. on the contrary, he admires gus van zandt.

    he is a beautiful, beautiful man with a killer smile.

    Posted by: nic | Aug 8, 2008 11:20:10 AM

  9. Meh, I think he's just having fun telling a story. Certainly not homophobic.

    Posted by: Dave | Aug 8, 2008 11:20:30 AM

  10. prosthetic or not, even w a strap-on, i'd still hit it!!!

    Posted by: bading | Aug 8, 2008 11:22:53 AM

  11. I saw it coming. C'mon, with "Brokeback" we had weeks and months of giggles in the press and all manner of declarations of heterosexuality just to let everyone know in advance what to expect. It's the exact-same-template.

    Posted by: Turtle | Aug 8, 2008 11:29:08 AM

  12. So much so, TURTLE, that Jake and Heath were told to quit it by the powers that be at Focus Features. It was only when BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was nominated for an Oscar, that J & H stopped giggling and started behaving.

    Posted by: John in Manhattan | Aug 8, 2008 11:36:21 AM

  13. I second what NIC said: you boys are bunch of nasty bitches. Franco's a charming guy and totally gay friendly. His stories were cute and simply played up how uncomfortable it is to walk around naked with a 100+ people on a camera crew watching your every move, captured on film. So what that he's well-paid for it -- it's not so much fun unless you're a porn star, and knowing how the Internet works, that the eyes of the world will be fixated on your penis (vs your acting) once the film comes out. oh, wait, now I get it! DUH is a porn star! awesome. that explains a lot.

    Posted by: paulie | Aug 8, 2008 11:37:22 AM

  14. I don't know what's up with all this negativity. I mean the prosthetic penis story is pretty funny; Sean Penn having prosthetic penis envy is pretty funny; this is shit that's worth giggling about.

    So I'm not quite clear on what people are so upset about. He seems charming to me.

    Posted by: Dan E | Aug 8, 2008 12:02:07 PM

  15. What an obvious publicist-pitched made-up story, and how slow and boring his delivery. Looks like an actor who can only act on film, because in a theater he'd have a tough one trying to deliver a full script in real time.

    Posted by: Cristian | Aug 8, 2008 12:09:01 PM

  16. Maybe it's just me, but yeah, I would be freaked out to make out with a woman and do sex scenes with a woman. It would kind of gross me out and definitely make me uncomfortable. I'm sure I would end up trying to find the humor in it to make it easier. Actually, I would try to find the humor in anything I do, so I think people who have a problem with what he's saying are just looking for shit to bitch about.

    The fake penises, however, are a great way to perpetuate the type of insecurity that made them want fake penises in the first place.

    Posted by: paul | Aug 8, 2008 12:21:51 PM

  17. Gay men tend to be size queens and dick-size obsessed, plus hell-bent on total gym body perfection. Why would anyone submit themselves to such scrutiny? Is anyone surprised these guys put on prosthetic cocks? (Although I had no idea this was a practice in H'wood.)

    Self-acceptance = happiness so the sooner you can walk around naked and not give a shit one way or the other, the sooner you can hear vicious judgements and not care, the happier you will be!

    Remember, there will come a day when you get old and wrinkly, and your self-criticism -- if still present -- will destroy you.

    Posted by: Tim | Aug 8, 2008 12:22:00 PM

  18. This is just weird enough it's probably true--I think he was just sharing it in a "can you believe how bizarre an actor's life is?" way, not in a homophobic way.

    The only reason I can think of for someone wearing a prosthetic penis (besides the visual size benefits) is to protect the real thing from too much sun exposure, especially if he's spending half the day naked getting these shots. If he's got body makup on, he wouldn't want to keep putting on a robe or a pair of trunks and then taking them off again.

    Posted by: Dback | Aug 8, 2008 12:33:21 PM

  19. Tim - Generalizations are fun! Sounds like you need to get out and meet some new homosexuals.

    Fake penises are lame.

    Posted by: Tweety | Aug 8, 2008 12:56:48 PM

  20. Were there prosthetic balls too?

    Not sure why people were complaining here, I thought the story was more likely better than the film's going to be! I could see why Franco would be uncomfortable, Penn's no longer a hottie! (That was a joke.)

    Posted by: anon | Aug 8, 2008 12:58:58 PM

  21. "You would think that two established actors could be comfortable enough with their own bodies to handle the nudity."
    This may have been true many years ago...but in the age of DVDs, actors are more reluctant to do an "artistic" nude scene knowing they are going to end up freeze-framed and then all over the internet.

    Posted by: boston bear | Aug 8, 2008 12:59:56 PM

  22. There is still a huge penis taboo in the U.S. It's not just actors but American guys in general are shy about showing off the goods. It's as if every guy thinks his whole mystery and uniqueness is found between his legs (as opposed to in his heart and his head) and to show off your real dick is to be overexposed and vulnerable. I think this is a warped, socially-perpetuated logic and I can imagine all kinds of ways in which this dysfunctional modesty screws with a guy's all-around behavior. Imagine how relaxed and confident one would be if there was nothing to hide. Look at Ewan McGregor and other European actors who show off their dicks like they were elbows. They seem more evolved and even happier than their American peers.

    Posted by: dickdanver | Aug 8, 2008 1:43:49 PM

  23. I don't think that the story that Franco told was homophobic in any way, just a faintly amusing story.

    There has always been and probably always will be a double standard when it comes to male and female nudity-perfectly fine and required for women to be naked-full frontal and all-but God forbid precious men have to show their frontal wares! What a load of crap!

    Posted by: anon | Aug 8, 2008 1:49:56 PM

  24. My guess with the prosthetic is about shot continuity. If you are doing multiple shots, especially diving into the pool, there's going to be some shrinkage issues. When it comes time to do the final edit, then at least the appendage will have the same shape and behavior whether it was at the beginning or the end of the shoot.

    Posted by: dbearhug | Aug 8, 2008 1:51:32 PM

  25. Dbearhug, that is an excellent point!

    Posted by: Kelly | Aug 8, 2008 2:19:29 PM

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