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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. I was there in the 70's...having sex--as much as I could get--dirty, anonymous, and fun.
    And, my dear, I'm still here.
    Sex is a basic biological urge. This country is just devolving back into its Puritanical and prudish existence.
    Religion will be the complete destruction of the planet.
    How sad.


    Posted by: Bruce Wayne | Dec 20, 2012 2:55:50 AM

  2. I remember when this movie came out...I remember when it came onto VHS and I secretly rented it when my folks were gone. I remember how turned on I got, thinking it was odd, since I was straight...or so I thought. I came out a hair after the revolution, AIDS was already identified, but only as the "gay cancer". Yeah, that's what they called it in the beginning. I remember I was too shy to engage in behavior like that, in awe of it, but too frightened to do it. I also remember all the people I knew who did live like this, all now dead. They have been since the 1980's, dying a wicked, painful death at the hands of evil government that was in denial. No one would help these modern day "lepers" Everyone thought that by merely speaking to them, one could catch AIDS. It was a very scary time. Do not wish death on these people, do not wish them harm. They suffered so greatly in the beginning days of AIDS, they need no more pain. "Cruising" simply exposed a sub-culture of gay life. It certainly cannot be considered the norm of gay life back in the '70's & '80's.

    Posted by: millerbeach | Dec 20, 2012 3:53:51 AM

  3. Closeted guys won't like this one little bit. They can squirm and squeal all they want, this looks to be a good flic.

    It very much reminds me of the One Way bar in LA in the '80s.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Dec 20, 2012 5:00:11 AM

  4. I think this is fantastic ... If James Franco was gay i think he would come out...just be glad that we have some straight alys on our side, we need them. Secondly, just because something is uncomfortable does not mean there isn't a story there ... that is what movie making is all about. Not all of us, grow up in these perfect little "white picket" fence familes, then move to the city to start our fabulous gay life ...with parties and brunches, and the gym ... some men explore sex and fetishes ...and in that time period the leather bars were the only places you could do that ... that subculture is starting to die out because of the Internet and online hookups, but there are still bars out there with backrooms and patrons wanting to explore!! stop being so judgemental. The leather scene is not mine either, but it does not scare me either and I could give a damn what straight people think... which is what most queens are afraid of!!

    Posted by: tommyboy10T | Dec 20, 2012 7:32:20 AM

  5. Hear hear, Milkman!

    Posted by: David | Dec 20, 2012 9:16:01 AM

  6. Why doesn't James just have man on man sex and get it over with already. Geesh. Crusing is truly ancient history. He talks and talks and talks and it seems he really needs his cherry popped (gently of course and in a loving way) :-D

    Posted by: Bob | Dec 20, 2012 11:48:44 PM

  7. Milkman:

    "Lots of those guys in the 70s and 80s and 90s got sick because ourknowledge base and culture were different then than they are now."

    What garbage this is. By age sixty, more than half of today's young gay men will be infected with HIV. So what exactly has changed? What good does "our knowledge base" do if nobody is using it?

    Posted by: randall | Dec 21, 2012 1:18:27 PM

  8. Franco and his brother should both come out. Earn your stripes before you start calling gay the new straight. I think you're using us. If not, join the spin the bottle game. That's a start. You know you want to.

    Posted by: Sharp | Dec 22, 2012 1:24:32 PM

  9. UFFDA "the abyssmal gay life of the 70's that led to half a million dead men from AIDS" No no Gay life did not cause AIDS. Any more than the Gay life of the 70s is causing AIDS in Africa now. Sexual activity has consequences, STDs, Pregnancy, the HORROR of learning one is infertile (for the Hetero-set). Gay people having sex no more caused AIDS than Str8 people having sex. What I think you were trying to say is that Gay folks having sex SPREAD the virus. Rest assured, Gay folk were having lots of sex BEFORE there was AIDs and not one died from it.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Dec 22, 2012 4:39:06 PM

  10. That's a great commitment to your craft, very admirable.

    Posted by: Metal Grommet | Jan 5, 2013 5:56:16 PM

  11. it is funny people worried about this film and how str8 people will perceive you think they worry about us whenever there's a 60s documentary on tv or movie or song that comes on the radio...OH NOEZ...OUR SHAME...ALL THAT SEX THAT GAVE RISE TO STD'S UNWANTED PREGNACIES WHAT WILL THE GAYS THINK OF US!!! THEY'LL KNOW WE'RE BAD PEOPLE THAT WE SHOULDN'T BE PARENTS!

    Yeah i don't think they think that at all...stop apologizing. And for the record...there are hot men in leather not just out of shaped know like life. Some of you need to get off the high horse...or stop pretending you are on one then sneak to do stuff in the cover of the dark. So your friends don't know what you really like.

    Posted by: kevin | Jan 18, 2013 4:38:34 PM

  12. HEY UFFD is Woodstock to be looked upon as tragic?

    Posted by: kevin | Jan 18, 2013 4:39:42 PM

  13. Every gender, every "sub-culture" every body has a "seedy side" and just as there will always be heterosexual swingers, orgies and different kinds of sex parties there will also be homosexual swingers, orgies and sex parties. If you're uncomfortable with that, don't go to any of those kinds of parties but please stop degrading those that do. I have NEVER been to a "sex party" and consider myself VERY vanilla and kinda shy but I don't think people who like that sort of thing are bad or immoral. It's all about consenting adults doing what makes them happy.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jan 21, 2013 10:53:06 AM

  14. He is WAY up in his head. I don't believe a word of either's quotations. I'm sure they think that's what they are doing. They should actually go hang out at the Eagle LA enough times that they loose the sense of "other", relax and get to know what it's actually about.

    And furthermore, Gay marriage is not about normalizing. It's about living like some people want to live. having a homelife that is sedentary is as big a risk as cruising a leather bar. More actually. The bar's risks are short term. A relationship housed in a domicile is a long term, huge and vulnerable risk.

    Posted by: SisterUnity | Jan 31, 2013 10:57:38 PM

  15. Where's my comment? It was one of the first ones.

    Posted by: GB | Apr 26, 2013 7:20:00 PM

  16. I love the original, despite the problematic representation of homosexuality.

    check out my review of Franco's book "Actors Anonymous".

    Posted by: Tristan | Nov 17, 2013 5:30:26 PM

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