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James Franco Enters a Gay Leather Bar, Begins 'Cruising': VIDEO


James Franco has collaborated with San Francisco filmmaker Travis Matthews on the forthcoming film Interior. Leather Bar inspired by William Friedkin's iconic film Cruising.

Watch the trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Write the filmmakers:

Franco2In order to avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of gay S&M footage was rumored to be cut and destroyed from the 1980 film, “Cruising.” Inspired by the mythology of this controversial film, filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews collaborate to imagine their own lost footage.

Amid the backdrop of a frenzied film set, actor Val Lauren reluctantly agrees to take the lead in the film. Val is repeatedly forced to negotiate his boundaries during scenes on and “off camera,” as unsimulated gay sex happens around him. The film itself is constructed as a play with boundaries remaining queer in subject and form. As much a film about filmmaking as it is about an exploration of sexual and creative freedom, “Interior. Leather Bar.” defies easy categorization.

Says Franco of making the film:

"I wanted to be taken on a ride. I wanted to make a film that was as much about the experience as it was about making something. I wanted to go to a place of uncertainty, to set up parameters and then let the movie make itself. I wanted to explore the beauty of queerness, beautiful because it is counter to everything normal. As “straight” becomes the new “gay,” I wanted to find places where the anti-normative still thrived. Travis became my partner and guide on a trip to the queer-side."

Franco3Adds Matthews:

One of the first things that James and I ever talked about was gay marriage. We shared a concern that the race toward equality was also a race of straightening out the queer kinks, of erasing subcultures in favor of assimilation. It’s a conversation captured in the opening scene of the film, one that “helps inform choices” as I say. In a lot of ways this became the foundation of the film, this idea that we’d make a queer film about a gay subculture that was as much a celebration of as it was an agitator. Yes, there is gay sex in the film, but it’s the slippery way in which boundaries and definitions are in constant flux that really make it a queer film for me.

We took the mythology of a still controversial film, “Cruising” (1980), and the rumored-to-be-lost 40 minutes from the original cut of that film, as an opening for this exploration. But our film is neither a remake nor a dedicated 40 minutes of re-imagined lost footage. It’s so much more about our process of constructing this film and the mercurial ways in which the film plays with expectations and form. Is it real or is it fake, is it art or is it porn, and where exactly does one bleed into the other?

But as slippery as the film is, I was never interested in a “gotcha” moment that duped the audience. From the beginning I wanted to shine a light on the construction, to pull back the proverbial curtain between us and the audience. If people embraced the artifice, I reasoned, they’d start hunting for moments of authenticity. The actors are on a parallel journey constantly sorting out personal boundaries and sexual identities while trying to understand what it IS that we’re actually filming. James and I were no different, sometimes reaching for the map but just as often choosing to go without it.

Watch the trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. My god, he's more obsessed with cock than most of the gay men I know.

    Posted by: ripper | Dec 19, 2012 9:34:45 AM

  2. I also love the 'slippery way' intelligence and avant-garde art overlap with pretension and been-there-done-that. It's so retro it makes me feel like I'm part of it, as if I'm back in the heady days of college, in Cambridge. This could be awesome, or terrible, or both. As long as it's not boring...
    And my comment is so 'meta'.

    Posted by: shane | Dec 19, 2012 9:39:25 AM


    Posted by: THE QUEEN | Dec 19, 2012 9:41:24 AM

  4. Can't wait for this.

    Posted by: realitythink | Dec 19, 2012 9:43:37 AM


    Posted by: Stephen | Dec 19, 2012 9:43:38 AM

  6. A+ to Shane's comment. Not sure about this until I see it.

    Posted by: Just_a_guy | Dec 19, 2012 9:47:19 AM

  7. The so-called 'beauty' of queer subculture---S&M,gloryholes, bath-houses etc led to the decimation of thousands of gay men via HIV/AIDS. As filmmakers explore that subculture I hope they also examine the consequences it birthed.

    Posted by: hello | Dec 19, 2012 9:47:30 AM

  8. I'll be the first to say "yes james franco, I'll take you on a ride"

    Posted by: MaddM@ | Dec 19, 2012 9:58:26 AM

  9. I wish he would just come out already, instead of the weaving around it all the time.

    Posted by: chris | Dec 19, 2012 9:59:06 AM

  10. Note to Franco: as u explore ur queer side, remember that healthy gay men see themselves as "normal"

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Dec 19, 2012 10:00:25 AM

  11. I hope my access to marriage rights doesn't spoil James Franco's ability to experience queer culture as delightfully anti-normative. Won't someone think of the Francos?

    Posted by: smithb | Dec 19, 2012 10:02:23 AM

  12. Just saw the clip: great, just what we need

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Dec 19, 2012 10:02:53 AM

  13. Now this I seriously have an interest in. And as for the subculture leading to the "decimation of thousands"...what doesn't? Everything dies of something. The cessation of cellular respiration terminates all. Living in a city lowers your life expectancy. You gonna belittle that as well. Get off your horse.

    Posted by: Bollux | Dec 19, 2012 10:04:00 AM

  14. Why does he seem to be fixated on the seedy, subculture of some gay men's lives? He seems to think of gay men as perverted, immoral and disordered instead of mainstream, wholesome people. I am offended by Franco's view of gay men.

    Posted by: Javier | Dec 19, 2012 10:10:06 AM

  15. Is there such a thing as "mainstream?"
    Film will be interesting at the least. If only the queers in the leather hang-outs looked like these actors...sigh.

    Posted by: Dreaminglive | Dec 19, 2012 10:25:45 AM

  16. Franco lost me long ago. He does more harm to the gay community then he does good.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Dec 19, 2012 10:26:28 AM

  17. Look, the people who will stereotype us as sex-crazed deviants will do that no matter what.

    The people who understand we're human beings know that this is no more representative of "all gays" than a movie about swingers would be representative of all straight people.

    This notion that we have to present a scrubbed, perfect version of gay and that anything else is somehow "harmful" is dishonest, disingenuous, and, frankly, far more harmful in my view than any film about cruising and leather bars will ever be.

    And yea, I'm not sure what "mainstream" is either. All I know is that, in my experience, most anyone who loudly protests that they are "normal" is usually both deeply boring and deeply broken.

    Posted by: Dan E | Dec 19, 2012 10:47:21 AM

  18. Gosh, so many people seem so uncomfortable with the seemingly seedy, pseudo-dangerous environment of leather bars. Have any of you been to a leather bar lately? Maybe I've been to the wrong ones, but every time I go to the Eagle, no matter what city, I see more chatting and dancing and pool playing than gloryholes and fisting. In fact, any sex that happens is usually squashed by some staff member with a flashlight. Leather bars in the 70s... maybe that was another thing. I don't know, I was too young to experience it firsthand. But I'd bet a few dollars that the depiction of these places in popular culture was and still is exaggerated for salacious voyeur effect. But if these bars were actually like that, you can bet your ass I'd be there. It ain't the bar that is dangerous, or even the sex... it's how you do it that makes the difference. And as for judgement about being "perverted" or "immoral", that says more about the particularly American brand of sex-phobia than it does about gays. Ah, the Puritans. When, oh when, will we break free from their influence? Sigh.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 19, 2012 10:49:42 AM

  19. Long way to go to see gay men have sex. Just come out already, James.

    Posted by: Wisebear | Dec 19, 2012 10:52:06 AM

  20. ^"queer subculture---S&M,gloryholes, bath-houses etc led to the decimation of thousands of gay men via HIV/AIDS"-HELLO

    i'm not so sure of that

    Posted by: Oliver | Dec 19, 2012 10:54:11 AM

  21. I'm thankful that showing a seedy underside of gay cruising will help me attain marriage equality. Not at all sure how that's going to happen (Oh, the poor gays, they can't get married so they go cruising for anonymous sex), but Franco and Mathews seems far more enlightened. I'll be sure to give the standing ovation when equality comes around and those that pass it cite this film as their reason for finally doing so. Its this kind of film that will then go straight to the Nigerian and Ugandan politicians who can then use it as propaganda to keep jailing and killing us. If he's THAT concerned with exploring this side, there are plenty of porn sites he can turn to.

    Posted by: Isaak | Dec 19, 2012 11:19:52 AM

  22. Hiding queer (note: not necessarily normative gay) sexuality in order to obtain marriage rights is not a broad stretch toward justice. It seems cheap. In addition to marriage, I thought we were also advocating that we should embrace the multiplicity of healthy sexualities.

    Posted by: jlavoy | Dec 19, 2012 11:35:40 AM

  23. Scrubbing our image into Will Truman-esque sexlessness will do nothing to help ensure marriage equality in America or to help protect gay people in Uganda or Nigeria. Bigots use anti-gay hatred to deflect attention away from more pressing political issues, just like they do in the US. If it isn't this film, then it'll be porn, or pride parade videos, or Betty Butterfield clips on YouTube, or episodes of Glee. Anonymous or recreational sex is something that some people (gay or straight or other) enjoy, and it is no more representative of the entire community than Fifty Shades of Grey is to the straight folks. Time to unclench, ladies.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 19, 2012 11:49:55 AM

  24. I also think that the erasing of subcultures and "smoothing out the kinks" in favor of assimilation is a valid discussion. It's one that I've had with friends for years... perhaps you've discussed it with your friends too? I would dearly love to marry my partner of 19 years. But why must civil equality come with a pricetag that includes regression to the behavioral and cultural mean?

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 19, 2012 11:56:58 AM

  25. Some of the comments on this thread remind me of the comments on the Nate Silver thread yesterday. This desperation to conform, this desperation to look like neat little gays so straights like us. So you like yourselves. It's so not cool.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 19, 2012 12:13:01 PM

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