James Franco: ‘I Wish I Was Gay’

Franco

In a new interview in The Daily Beast, James Franco says it's normal for people to think he's gay based on the persona that he has created.

FrancoBEAST: With the gay jokes, it seems like when an actor plays a gay character convincingly onscreen, whether it’s you in Milk or whomever, gay rumors seem to sprout up about that actor. And, of course, there were a lot of gay jokes directed at you during the Roast, as well as in This Is the End.

FRANCO: There’s two sides to what happened in the Roast. If that’s what they were going to make fun of me for, I was like, “Great! Bring on the gay jokes!” because these aren’t insults at all. I don’t even care if people think I’m gay, so it was like, “Awesome!” I mean, I wish I was…I wish I was gay.

BEAST: Why?

FRANCO: I mean… we don’t have to go into it. But as far as that larger phenomenon that you’re talking about that happens to other actors, part of it is that movies are a place where people can project things and identify with characters, and it’s the same thing with actors outside of their roles—and it’s been that way since Hollywood was around. That’s why there’s a lot of conjecture. That’s been one of my things, too. My relationship with my public image over the past four or five years has just become weirder and weirder, because I look at it and it’s me, and it’s not me, so if other people want to use that for their own purposes or needs, I’m fine with it.

Comments

  1. says

    i can’t help but love this dude.

    and the roast was HILARIOUS. he’s given a series of terrific performances over the years, and his off-screen persona and pursuits are refreshingly different.

    colour me a fan.

  2. Dastius Krazitauc says

    Really? Summing up speculation that James Franco might be gay SOLELY based on one role in “Milk”? Uh, no, Daily Beast interviewer. Way to do your research.

  3. LAist says

    Did his clarification of why he wishes he was gay make any sense to anyone? Seems like someone was just saying something that kinda sorta sounding interesting, positive or provocative, but then had nothing to back it up. Kinda sorta like all Franco performances…

  4. SPOT says

    If he was fat and unattractive, people would have been screaming for his head for the bigoted roast and the many straight white guys using “gay” as an insult.

  5. JimmyD says

    SPOT says, “This guy is an idiot.”
    Gee, Spot, hate much? You don’t have to like him, but why post a comment as snide as that about a guy who has never been anything other than a friend of the gays?
    Since you hate him so much, why did you even take the time to (I doubt you actually read the piece. My guess is you jumped straight to the comments) comment on him?
    Some might say you’re an Internet Troll.
    I base that on your snotty comment.

  6. AmericanDreamer says

    James Franco wishes he was gay.

    I wish he could act, or write, or be good at any one of his pursuits instead of riding off his own coattails.

    The WSJ review of his novel was the most scathing review of a book I have ever read.

  7. Francis #1 says

    Agree with Jamie. It’s a question that needs to be asked, if James is going to continue being asked if he’s gay or not, may as well ask if he’s bi.

    I’ve heard rumors about James for about 10 years, so the way I see it, where there’s so much smoke, there’s probably fire. With that being said, he’s boring to me at this point. Only so long you can do the same thing over and over before you become stale.

  8. anon says

    Franco’s been pretending to himself that his HW career is based on talent and not looks. When his looks fade in ten years he’s going to have to re-evaluate this.

  9. Paul R says

    He’s not gay or bi. I’ve had several friends involved in his projects. He just doesn’t care. He grew up in the Bay Area, and most people his age from that area(including his brother) simply don’t care about who other people sleep with.

    Though I concur that many of his recent endeavors have been a bit tired. He’s manic, which both helps and hurts him.

  10. GregV says

    @Dastius: It might or might not be the interviewer’s opinion that “Milk” was the only time his performance was convincing in a gay role (and my own opinion would be that he’s done a great job in all kinds of roles), but a statement like “whether it’s you in Milk or whomever” sound clearly to me like just a random example.
    To me, the phenomenon he’s talking about would be the equivalent of audiences saying “Judy Garland must have REALLY been an orphaned farm girl from Kansas.” I think it speaks simultaneously to the strength of the actor and to the naivete of an audience that in some cases some people can’t separate actors from characters.

    “Did his clarification of why he wishes he was gay make any sense to anyone?”

    @Laist: He didn’t clarify; he said, “We don’t have to go into it.”
    I can imagine a lot of reasons a straight guy might say he wishes he were gay, because, despite all the prejudice we endure, it can be very enriching in other ways.
    A straight guy referring to his failed relationships said to me just last week (half-joking but with a between-the-lines serious note): “I think you’ve cracked the code.”
    In Franco’s case, no matter what he does or says, his words will be dissected and criticized. If he says he’s attending classes, some cynic will call him a pompous intellectual. If he says he’s attending a fundraiser, he’ll be called an self-righteous do-gooder; if he doesn’t? he’ll be called a parasite who doesn’t give back.
    I can fully understand why sometimes he may feel like a question has taken up enough bandwidth already.
    As for me, I’ll go see practically anything with the name James Franco on the marquee.

  11. Rick says

    Many straight men wish they were gay because of what they imagine gay life is……the same thing I imagined it was before I came out and found out otherwise.

    They imagine that it gives you the freedom to hang out with a bunch of really cool guys and do guy things with them and discard all the artificial emotional barriers that keep men from being real friends with each other. MUCH more appealling than having to spend most of your time with a woman who does not share your interests, does not–and cannot–REALLY understand you, has little in common with you….and insists on talking everything to death when you just want to relax and have a good time.

    And–as an added bonus–you get all the non-committal sex you want, whenever you want it, without having to jump through all the hoops you have to jump through with most women…..sex that is of better quality, generally, because men, having male bodies, know how to pleasure another male body to a much greater extent than women do or ever will.

    theoretically, that kind of life is heaven on earth.

    Unfortunately, when you come out, you discover that most gay men are utterly incapable of loving another man, that they don’t like men in general and have littel use for them other than as sexual objects, that they idolize women and act like them (and are every bit as bitchy) and prefer to spend their time with women–whom they DO value as human beings, don’t generally like “guy things” and are, in fact, often downright hostile to them….and are, frequently, drug and alcohol abusers who carry infection diseases, on top of everything else.

    If the culture ever changes, though, to the fantasy notion of gay life, described in my first few paragraphs…….instead of the reality of gay life, which I just described, then you will see lots of men “go gay”–only it won’t be “gay” any more, it will just be the way men live.

    I sure hope that day eventually comes, and there are signs that it is, indeed, on the way.

  12. Rowan says

    Gregv but he doesn’t help himself. He contradicts himself too much and is too much of an attention whore.

    I’m not saying that you can’t be an intellectual and still be into popculture BUT the way he attempts to meet both is far too pretentious for me to take it seriously.

    And remember, when he first came out as this creative intellect, we were all on his side as it was so refreshing to see…..but then he took it too far.

    He only has himself to blame.

    Oh, a good example I am talking about is presenting the Oscars one minute and the next lauding your intellectual seminars/degrees/etc the next minute-esp as we all know he never really attended most of those classes AND they were not full master courses.

  13. Rowan says

    Rick,

    Where are you from?

    I’ve seen what you describe in creative LGBTQ sets in cities but then I would just say creative sets because in our 20’s many ‘straight’ guys played around.

    I am talking about London and places like NYC, Berlin.

    I think mainstream LGBTQ spaces which you speak of Rick, is where your second paragraph talks of and I could switch that to the straight world…’Guys are competitive, hen pecked by their girlfriends, are too scared to talk intimately with their male friends, constant bravado, get saddled with marriage and kids by the time the get to 30,spend their 30’s miserable, balding, depressed and only allowed to spend time with their male friends on rare occasions which make them feel less then as well as resentful towards wife who has gone fat’…

    You see? The issue is the culture NOT the sexuality.

    And Franco is well in that sexual fluid haven when he is hanging out in NYC with the Ricardo Tisci’s and Marina Ambromovich’s!

  14. Rowan says

    Paul R, we’re not all naive fools and some of us actually live or have grown up around bohemian sets in cities.

    Franco group up in Palo Alto. In the suburbs.

    That isn’t what we are talking about-I know plenty of people like him inc myself!-no we are talking about friends who have said they slept with him, seeing him in certain places and his awkward behavior about his sexuality.

    I don’t trust any anon poster who decries something as ‘fact’ because they have some agenda towards the subject. It’s all speculation.

  15. jjose712 says

    anon: I have mixed feelings about Franco, but lets be serious. He is good looking, but not that good looking.
    In Hollywood there are a thousand actors better looking than him, and most of them don’t even get roles.
    One can question his “multiple” talents, but some talent he has to do to have such career.

    And frankly, all people who are coming out lately are rumoured to be gay for years. Franco (like Leonardo di Caprio for example) was rumoured to be gay way before being famous, wich is at least suspicious.

  16. BEn says

    Gee James, and I wish I was the girl you are going to plow on Saturday night. There will always be gay “friends” who say this and that, but we know you’re a real man, just like your brother. You both have the same view of gays — they are a captive audience because you are cute. I wish I was straight so I could seduce you. That might work.

  17. Rick says

    @ROWAN

    You said:

    “You see? The issue is the culture NOT the sexuality”

    Yeah, I agree, it IS the culture. My vision is of an entirely new male culture in which “gay” men re-claim their lost masculinity and learn to be men again and how to enjoy being men–WITH other men……and in which straight men liberate themselves from emotional, social, and sexual dependence on women and discover that the key to happiness is having strong emotional ties to other men, who can understand them and relate to them.

    If you are suggesting that that exists ANYWHERE at present, I would beg to differ with you.

    However, I do think we are beginning to see the first signs of such a culture emerging, with more young “gay” men rejecting the culture of effeminacy of their elders…..and more young “straight” men embarking on “bromances” and tying themselves more closely to other men and less closely to women.

    Understood?

  18. Josh says

    How noble. He’s providing a public service. We are free to use his image how ever we want or need to. Calling all sexually aware teens! The aging Franco face is all yours for fantasy. The real one likes pussy.

  19. jarago says

    Mr Franco is a very creative fellow- so if he wanted to be gay in the real world as opposed to the reel one- he could do it. And James- seriously dude a man who looks like you must have tons of gay men who will help you…

  20. Bill says

    @Rowan: Regarding the comment, “Franco group up in Palo Alto. In the suburbs,” that doesn’t mean what you might think. Palo Alto is adjacent to Stanford University, and has a lot of well-educated generally liberal residents (at least socially) plus some really crazy people. It once had a candidate for city council, a guy who made dental implants, who claimed to be the reincarnation of an Egyptian god.

    Residents you may have heard of include Sergey Brin (Google) Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), Steve Jobs (now deceased), Elon Musk (Tesla, etc.), Larry Page (Google), Jerry Yang and David Filo (co-founders of Yahoo), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). It is not your typical suburb.

  21. Unicorn says

    “I wish I was gay” kinda irks me because it displays his straight privilege front and center. I mean imagine if he said:

    “I wish I was oppressed and a 2nd class citizen. I wish I had to deal with the enormous stress and consequences of coming out to friends and family. I wish I was under daily threat of getting beaten up on the street just for existing. I wish I couldn’t travel to certain countries because of criminalized homosexuality. Etc, etc.”

    I’m sure he’s aware that gay life isn’t 100% awesome but the fact that he’s lived his entire life as a straight white male(the epitome of privelege) colors his perspective and I’m afraid he might have a romanticized notion of what being gay is like.

  22. Monque says

    Riding off his own coattails makes PERFECT sense, LAIST, for were he not famous I dare say his collection of short stories would have been reviewed at all.

    AS for this post, I will just leave this snippet from his book here:

    “All the cops stood around me in their tight blue uniforms and the sky was golden abouve them. First RFK got my name and looked at my license. Then I had to hold my hand out and touch my nose while my neighbors watched. Another police cruiser slowed until it was in front of my driveway.”

  23. Monque says

    OOps, the praise in my last comment was meant for AMERICANDREAMER, as BASTION clearly did not get it.

    ——————————————————————-
    @AMERICANDREAMER

    Riding off his own coattails? That makes no sense. I am laughing at you.

    POSTED BY: BASTIAN | SEP 9, 2013 2:26:00 PM
    ——————————————————————

    As an artist, I fail to see the art in all, or any, that James France does. He would never have showed at the Venice Biennale without his celebrity, nor would he have found a publisher for his short stories. His followers on HuffPo are fans, and they all ooh and ahhh in a transparently cringeworthy manner at his laborious and yet slightly off use of big words and lofty sentence constructions. Were he not famous — the currency needed to cut lines and skip past the years of work, study, and sweat — we’d none of be aware of what he calls his art.

    I suffer secondhand embarrassment on his behalf, because Franco has no shame of his own for work that has not been honed. In the honing lies the education.

  24. Mick says

    I understand why James wishes he were gay. It’s because he loves the free, open, daring sexuality associated with it. I bet James has tried being gay, but ultimately discovered that his penis fits much easier in vagina both socially and professionally.

  25. Mick says

    I understand why James wishes he were gay. It’s because he loves the free, open, daring sexuality associated with it. I bet James has tried being gay, but ultimately discovered that his penis fits much easier in vagina both socially and professionally.

  26. JD says

    Without the “maybe gay” cache there would be nothing to see. This celebrity multimillionaire plays the game well. You will never meet him, he will never know your name.

  27. Rick says

    What you need to know about me to understand where I’m coming from is that when I was a little boy I had a passion for rubbing my father’s soiled and skidmarked underpants on my face every night. It aroused me, you see. Because of stereotypical gay liberal effeminates with limp wrists my father then thought that I wanted to be a girl, and mistook the underpants-face-smearing as an attempt to don Blackface, and thus for nearly 20 years the only way my father would allow me to rim him was if i did it in blackface AND drag. And that was HORRIBLE, because I’m a masculine macho gay man who is not an effeminate liberal with a lisp and a limp wrist. And I had to pretend to be. While I ate my father’s rear end. After chili night. Which was every night, because my horrible woman of a mother would only ever cook chili. I hate women because of her, too.

    So that’s why I hate the culture of effeminacy, that doesn’t actually exist. It exists only in my head. Understood?

    I wake up each day faced with the challenge. Is this the day I make my father’s dream come true and finally get the courage to hang myself? No. Because today I choose to log on to Towleroad to tell you all how angry I am that you effeminate gays are out of the closet, and dating other gay people, and making friends, and I’ve never had any of that.
    Understood?

    If I can’t come on here every day to waste time pretending that its’ the fault of effeminate men that I can’t come out and my dad didnt’ love me the way I wanted, which would have been out of drag, then I just may do what everyone hopes I’ll do and end my life. Let’s face it – I won’t be missed. By anyone.

    Understood? Im not openly gay. I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve never kissed another man. And I’m still angry that I had to dress up like a black girl to perform sex acts on my father. And if I didn’t do a good job he wouldn’t let me attend our bi-monthly Klan meetings.

    Understood?

  28. Allen says

    Actually Rick, I’m in my sixties and I’ve known a group of openly gay men for decades who have strong emotional ties to other men – both gay and straight. They’re called: my friends. This isn’t an emerging culture. It’s been around for years. Just because you haven’t found it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  29. BrokebackBob says

    I see it as a person experimenting (albeit in a “don’t touch it, it’s hot” sort of way) bisexuality along a variety of dimensions, many of which don’t involve actual sex with another man. I think it’s possible that James feels strongly that everyone is capable of sexual responses to both sexes if all the crap were societal/cultural/religious crap was stripped away, and he is interested in that. It would not surprise me if his housemate and him had shared physical intimacy all the way from man-man cuddling to full-on sex, actually it isn’t any of OUR business what James does in his private life. But based on what he has done in his public life, I’d say he is making references to what he believes is his homosexual “side” while still also being responsive in a heterosexual way as well. He is nothing if not entertaining and he is no fool.

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