1. Caliban says

    I don’t know. For a while now I’ve been finding James Franco really kind of annoying. Part of it all his gay-themed work, all while he’s insisting he’s straight. And I think his self-promotion and ego gets in the way of whatever it is he’s trying to do. The biggest reason he bombed so bad at the Oscars was that he didn’t think he *needed* to rehearse, that he’s just so awesome he could walk out there and do it. He couldn’t. It’s only because of his name he’s able to present himself as a fully formed artist and filmmaker without doing any of the grunt-work first, and it shows.

  2. Rick says

    “I don’t know. For a while now I’ve been finding James Franco really kind of annoying. Part of it all his gay-themed work, all while he’s insisting he’s straight”

    And yet I bet you don’t have a problem with Lady Gaga recording a song like “Born This Way” or paradinhg herself around as a spokesperson for us when she is not one of us. Right? I wonder why that is.

    It does not surprise me that people think he is the most interesting person in Hollywood–he is one of the very few Hollywood types I would have any interest in meeting and having a conversation with and I would love to “get deep” with him about the interest in gay men and try to understand where he is coming from.

    Funny, I don’t think he has much of an ego at all–which is part of the reason he often contents himself with doing “small” projects that will have very limited audiences when he could easily command the big bucks for higher-profile feature roles.

    And while he is not my type physically, he does have a very sexy persona (and voice).

  3. Caliban says

    Rick, as usual you’re talking out of your @ss. I don’t really have an opinion about Lady Gaga one way or the other, have listened to maybe one song, which I was iffy about. My only opinion was that she was overexposed based on a too-small body of work and she’s paying for it now.

    But there IS a difference between an artist saying “I support you” and one co-opting a group’s icons and history all while holding themselves separate from that group.

    And I doubt you could have a conversation with James Franco, unless you consider listening to someone talk about themselves as a “conversation.” I’m not telling anyone else what to think about him- you mileage may vary. I’m giving my own opinion, based on my observation of him over several years.

    But here’s a question for you, Rick. Why is it that you’re so quick to defend a “straight” male ally like Franco when you regularly sh*t on practically every ACTUAL gay person mentioned on this site?

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    just read his bio on Wiki, and how he goes about preparing for roles. I like him.

    Rick, after reading some of your comments on this blog, Franco just might want to hold a few conversations with you. He’s preparing to portray Richard Ramirez in the future.

  5. Rick says

    “co-opting a group’s icons and history”

    Co-opting our history? How? Because he played Allen Ginsburg in a film? That’s what actors do, isn’t it? Why criticize him for having taken on such a role when most other “straight” actors would not have and the story would never have been told? I mean there was nothing preventing any gay actors from taking on such a role or any gay producers/directors from making such a film, but they didn’t, did they? So maybe you should ask yourself why it is that gay men in Hollywood don’t seem to want to embrace their own history and why a “straight” man like Franco feels the need to fill the void….

    As for Lady Gaga, no she is not “supporting” us so much as she is exploiting us……as is the case with most “divas”… I really cannot see how actions like theirs compares favorably with the serious efforts of Franco.

    “And I doubt you could have a conversation with James Franco, unless you consider listening to someone talk about themselves as a “conversation”

    I beg to differ. One of the things that fascinates me about him is his interest in what he has referred to as “sexual ambiguity.” I don’t know if he is the embodiment of the New Age man I have envisioned, but I would certainly like to find out by spending some time with him, if the opportunity ever presents itself.

  6. DanR says

    I think it’s awesome if more and more people or artists are doing gay-themed or touches on gay-subjects. So, I don’t know why someone would think it’s bad for James Franco to do them. That’s like saying that just because we’re gay, we cannot do whatever straight people have stereotypically been doing (e.g., football, metal bands, or even weddings/marriage!)

    I’m gay but I love football, love “straight” movies, and if I had been an actor, I would have loved to do action films ala The Transporter or Ronin. Am I co-opting straight people’s icons then? I just think I’m open minded, consistent with the collective gay people’s attempt to have other people (straight or gay) to not be close-minded and excluding people just because they’re straight or gay.

  7. Caliban says

    Playing Allen Ginsberg is far from the only gay-themed work he’s done. Practically every personal project he’s done is gay-themed, from his student film Feast Of Stephen, directing a film about Hart Crane in which he blows a prosthetic penis, and making a film about allegedly missing footage from the (widely protested) film Cruising, and calling his art installation “Gay Town.” Not to mention his role in Milk.

    That’s more than a casual interest, yet other than the roles as Ginsberg and Scott Smith in OTHER people’s projects, what has been illuminated other than Franco’s own status as an “artiste”? Has he ever given money or donated time to any actual gay causes, charities, or projects? Not so far as I can tell, other than being “honored” by the AIDS charity AmFAR and even HE said he didn’t know why he was being honored. So who exactly is all this benefiting other than James Franco?

    It’s all done in the service of creating a mystique about James Franco, which is IMO far more exploitative of the gay community than some pop singer who actually has gone out of her way to support gay youth.

    Which is why I say he’s co-opting gay themes and history for his own purposes rather than using them to benefit the gay community or anyone else. Again, I’m not telling anyone else what to think about James Franco. I don’t really care what you think, but personally as I’ve watched all this developing I’ve started to feel a serious distaste for him.

  8. Rick says

    “So who exactly is all this benefiting other than James Franco?”

    Well, first of all, I don’t see how he is benefiting from it. None of these projects is commercially viable and I hardly think that having an interest in gay themes makes one popular with much of the public. So I hardly am able to view all of this as a form of “self-promotion” (By contrast, Lady Gag clearly knows who her audience is and wants to sell as many records to them as possible, so her behavior is entirely consistent with self-promotion and self-interest)

    But I think it remains to be seen what the “benefit” is. I don’t really know where he is going with all this and what his true motives are, which is part of what makes him fascinating to me.

    My personal goal, as you know, is to eradicate the whole concept of “gay” and liberate men–all men–from a culture that insists that they tie themselves primarily to women–emotionally, socially, sexually, and otherwise…..and instead build their lives primarily around their relationships with other men, which I think of as a more natural way to live–and one that promises greater happiness.

    So I can see where Franco might be angling for the same thing (ergo his self-described fascination with “sexual ambiguity”), but then again, maybe he isn’t. I just don’t know yet, but the idea that he is, in his own way, aiming for the same kind of cultural change I am makes him tantalizing to me.

  9. MichaelJ says

    While I wouldn’t charge Franco co-opting our icons and history as Caliban does, I too find James Franco annoying, even though I think he’s a fine actor (playing both gay and non-gay roles) and believe his support and appreciation of gay people are sincere. There seems to be a self-promoting aspect to his public persona. It’s not just the facination with all things gay; it’s also his well publicized enrolling in several graduate programs and wanting to teach in those programs. (I saw him on a panel at a Brooklyn College event and he was as ill-prepared as he was for the Oscars.) He recently admitted that he himself is in part responsible for the continual is-he-or-isn’t-he speculation about his sexuality.

    Whether publicized or not, I would hope Franco uses his celebrity status, connections and wealth to support gay filmmakers who are trying to make films about their owns lives and communities. There are plenty of them out there, some with great talent, and enabling gay people to represent themselves in film (and in other artistic and non-artistic ways) is as important if not more important than others doing it for us. If he is not supporting gay filmmakers, his making his own films about being gay seems to be more self-serving and less supportive of gay people than he imagines himself to be.

  10. Sam says

    @Ted, that’s what I have been hearing too.

    Pretty much every review says that Franco lacks the maturity to play the role and completely hams it up. My guess is, he wasn’t the first choice for the role.

  11. tinkerbell says

    Go Caliban, at least you’re using the too much time on your hands intelligently, unlike some of the other participants in this tiresome thread. I pretty much agree with what you are saying so I won’t add anything more.

  12. AriesMatt says

    @SAM, he wasn’t the first choice. He was third. Can’t recall who the first two were, but I personally think Franco was the more interesting and appropriate casting for the role.

    LOVE his smile. So genuine.

  13. Killbilly says

    Robert Downey, Jr was originally cast in Oz the Great and Powerful. As much as I love RDJ – I think James Franco is a good actor and a super cool guy!

  14. bostonbeat says

    If I were in his shoes I’d to it all as well. Whether I failed the public and media thought/said I’d failed. You only live once and why be rich and famous and just sit back and be boring and just look pretty?

  15. ElCid says

    It seems to me that James Franco couldn’t care less to whether he’s straight or gay, or whether he falls in love with a man or with a woman.
    That only makes me think high of him.

  16. says

    Love that he’s going through life doing what he wants to do rather than what he’s supposed to do–he’s cutting his own path. He and Colbert had great chemistry.

  17. GregV says

    @Caliban: I don’t understand your reservations about Franco. Gay characters have always been underrepresented in Hollywood films, and he understands how a gay orientation can add originality and depth and more facets to a character and to a story.
    He also understands discrimination and wants our stories to be told.

    Far from “insisting” that he is not gay, he has always shrugged off such questions. He gets the fact that people need to stop this madness of insisting (or even litigating over) maintaining heterosexual privilege in the industry.

    As a gay WASP-background guy myself, I understand and have used that tactic myself on occasion. When someone made a Holocaust joke at a party, I didn’t give him the relief of knowing I’m not Jewish. When the idiot saw the look on my face and said “You’re not Jewish, are you?” I answered, “Well of course I could be.”
    Likewise when a co-worker made a racist crack against native Americans. When he suddenly got worried about my reaction and asked, “I hope you aren’t part Indian, are you?” I wasn’t about to reassure him by saying no. I said maybe I am, and then he started stuttering and backtracking about how it’s just MOST of the tribes that are stupid and he was sure my tribe was one of the “more intelligent ones.”

    I really appreciate it, too, when straight people (James Franco included) DON’T go out of their way to prove how NOT gay they are.

    When more straight men “get” gay issues and appreciate our value in the world like James Franco does, the world will be a far better place for gay people.

  18. Morty says

    It is quite pathetic how far people will go to defend their “White Male Celebrity of the day”. Yes, Rick and Gregv, his behavior is unacceptable. He is reappropriating LGBT identities, the history, the struggles and the overall culture that binds us together. He is not just “interested” in it, he is fetishizing it and trying to make it his own to further his own narcissistic agenda.

    Don’t defend the indefensible.

  19. says

    “I think it’s awesome if more and more people or artists are doing gay-themed or touches on gay-subjects.”

    Here’s my main complaint: Why can’t gay people portray gay roles? Gay actors get passed over for roles they relate to and know, but if a “straight” actor portrays a gay character they win awards. If Brokeback starred two gay actors would it have been recognized? Methinks not.

  20. Wilberforce says

    Heaven help the Colbert if he ever has a Tolkien throw down with me, although this one was great.

  21. GregV says

    @…: No, if Ang Lee had pigeon-holed two gay actors into the roles BECAUSE they are gay instead of because they were the best two for the roles among all who auditioned, then Brokeback would likely have been substandard and would not have won awards.

    Likewise if How I Met Your Mother or White Collar or Big Bang Theory had turned down their leading actors because some nosy-body in casting asked everyone’s orientation at the auditions and crossed gay and bi actors off the list: Without the best actors for the roles, they might not have had the magic formula that made the shows successful. If The Wizard of Oz’s casting director had searched far and wide for an actress who had been raised by an uncle and aunt and had experienced the trauma of a tornado, maybe it would have been a flop, too.

    There are thousands of traits and experiences that make up the whole of an actor’s life experience. The important thing is that they can bring the character to life, not that they be the character in real life. That’s why it’s called acting.