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James Franco On Why He's Drawn To Gay Stories: 'These Are Important Issues Of Equal Rights'

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In an interview with Vulture, James Franco opens up about his self acknowledged affinity for projects focused on stories about gay lives and the struggle for queer rights. I Am Michael, Franco’s latest film that’s currently doing the Sundance circuit, tells the story of Michael Glatze, a former editor at XY magazine who suddenly renounced his homosexuality in the early oughts following a health scare and became a high-profile member of the ex-gay movement.

“It's because of their art, and then their art was partially informed by their sexuality,” Franco said of his storied history acting in gay-themed projects. “But then with something like Interior Leather Bar or Milk, those are obviously engaging with gay themes, gay rights, gay politics.”

Franco continues:

“Lee Daniels says that gay rights are the civil rights of our era, so I like doing a movie like Milk or Interior Leather Bar where I can bring themes and ideas I've been engaged with, and do it in such a way that those ideas are pulled into the mainstream more.

I feel like that's my place: I can in some ways lend myself and say that these are important issues of equal rights, though on the other hand, I'm very much about preserving this queer kind of space of defying identity and defying labels. I think there are a lot of those themes in this movie as well.”

Read the full interview with James Franco and I Am Michael director Justin Kelly HERE.


'Ex-Gay' Michael Glatze Says James Franco Film Gave Him 'New Life', Apologizes to Gay Youth: VIDEO

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Michael Glatze, writer for the (now shuttered) gay twink magazine XY and the short-lived publication Young Gay America who went "ex-gay" and became a poster boy for that movement, marrying a woman in 2013, sat down for an interview with vlogger Jake Reynolds following the screening of the new movie, I Am Michael at Sundance.

I Am Michael is based on the Benoit Denizet-Lewis NYT article "My Ex-Gay Friend". You can read it here.

Glatze (played by James Franco in the film) appeared thrilled with his portrayal and told Reynolds that it is a turning point in his life:

"Life is starting up again. It's almost like a new life. I thank James Franco for that. I did. I sent an email for him and I said 'thank you so much for your interest in this project' because it has been the spark to a gigantic healing process for so many people in my world, and now we can rejoin the rest of the world."

For those who are not familiar with Glatze's story this requires a bit of context.

Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, an organization that has devoted much time to exposing the "ex-gay" myth, wrote about Glatze's story in 2013:

Mr. Glatze worked for XY Magazine and was the co-founder of a short-lived LGBT teenie-bopper mag, Young Gay America. Suddenly, he broke up with his boyfriend and had what appeared to be a nervous breakdown, where he had severe panic attacks about dying. During these disturbing episodes, he renounced his sexual orientation and temporarily converted to Mormonism. Though he had dived into the Mormon faith with gusto, he just as quixotically abandoned this faith to become an outspoken fundamentalist Christian...

...He began writing incendiary op-eds for World Net Daily where he claimed to be “repulsed by homosexuality.” He appeared on Porno Pete LaBarbera’s radio show. However, his time on the “ex-gay” circuit was short-lived and he proved to be an incompetent spokesperson. His columns were so beyond the pale, that he alienated long-time “ex-gay” activists. Eventually, Glatze was drummed out of the “ex-gay” industry after a meltdown. His demise came after he wrote a racist rant against president Barack Obama on his blog...

FrancoFranco this week reacted to the experience of meeting Glatze for the first time and said that Glatze told him the film was "healing" as well.

Franco added:

"In a way, we had to show to him we were going to have a very even-handed, non-judgmental approach, but we also had to say to ourselves, 'We’re not telling this story just to make Michael happy, we’re telling the story to get both sides.' The best we could do was say to him, 'We have good intentions. We’re not going to crucify or judge you but we also need to tell the story from the other side as well as the side you’re on now.'"

However, there is only one side to the "ex-gay" story, and if the film (which I have not seen but was reviewed by our film critic here) presents being "ex-gay" as a valid option in life, it will certainly do a disservice to all of the young gay people who have been irreparably damaged by so called "conversion therapy", "ex-gay" ministries, and so on. As time goes by, former "ex-gays" and proponents (John Paulk, Randy Thomas, Robert Spitzer, and James Stabile, and more) continue to come out and reveal that being "ex-gay" is a damaging, damaging myth.

In the new interview, Glatze is asked what he would say to the gay youth who have said they were hurt and felt betrayed by Glatze's renunciation of his identity:

"I'm sorry, and that is one of the things I would say to anyone who has been hurt by any of the words that have come through my mouth or typed out on a computer screen...and even through video is that I'm sorry for any of the pain that I have caused. I literally feel that and have been dealing with that over the past really three or four years especially. It has just been a lot of the process of healing for me - we've been going through that together - and just growing in what the Buddhist teacher kind of observed was missing in me at that time was compassion...If there (are) amends to be made then to make those amends and not offend anyone on either side. We've got to be very careful with that."

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'Ex-Gay' Michael Glatze Says James Franco Film Gave Him 'New Life', Apologizes to Gay Youth: VIDEO" »


Zachary Quinto and James Franco Kiss in Slo-Mo, Enjoy a Popcorn Shower Together: VIDEO

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Zachary Quinto and James Franco were in Sundance for the screening of their film I Am Michael, about "ex-gay" activist Michael Glatze.

The New York Times set up a slow-motion photo booth on Main Street and Quinto and Franco were two of the stars corralled to have some fun in it. They were joined later by co-star Charlie Carver and director Justin Kelly.

Others who dropped by: Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg, Melissa Rauch, The Angulo Brothers, Matt Heineman Tig Notaro, Mya Taylor, Christopher Abbott, and Slash.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Zachary Quinto and James Franco Kiss in Slo-Mo, Enjoy a Popcorn Shower Together: VIDEO" »


James Franco on Being Thanked By 'Ex-Gay' Activist Michael Glatze for Film Portrayal: 'I Think it was Very Healing for Him'

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Upcoming film I am Michael tells the story of Michael Glatze, "ex-gay" activist.

James Franco portrays Glatze, and following the Sundance Film Festival, the actor recounted his experience with meeting Glatze.

GlatzeVia Pink News, Franco says: “I haven’t had that many conversations with him...I met him in person for the first time here at the festival. He made a point to come up to me and thank me, and he said he loved the movie. I think it was very healing for him.”

Franco continued:

In a way, we had to show to him we were going to have a very even-handed, non-judgemental approach, but we also had to say to ourselves, 'We’re not telling this story just to make Michael happy, we’re telling the story to get both sides.' The best we could do was say to him, 'We have good intentions. We’re not going to crucify or judge you but we also need to tell the story from the other side as well as the side you’re on now.'

I Am Michael also stars Emma Roberts and Zachary Quinto. Last week, we got a peek at early stills from the film, including a steamy gay threesome.


Sundance Double Review: 'I Am Michael' and 'The D Train'

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BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

One of the most interesting trends of this year's Sundance Film Festival is confrontational stories about people being pushed out of or willfully stepping away from their sexual comfort zones. THE DIARY OF A TEENAGER GIRL has earned the best reviews and the most press but let's discuss two films with more LGBT appeal.  I AM MICHAEL, a drama about religion and homosexuality, and THE D TRAIN, a comedy about a high school reunion, feature grown men whose lives spiral out of control when they stray from their true selves. 

How many gay kids growing up confused about what they were feeling within religious environments used this Bible verse in ways that would horrify fundamentalists?

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you:
-Matthew 7:7 

It's a lovely sentiment whether you're religious or not. Everyone needs to know themselves and find their own way. Those who've come before us lay down tracks for us to follow but we all still have to choose which to take or construct our own. But Matthew's promise won't work for everyone. What if you don't know what to ask, don't know what you're looking for or, like the protagonists of these movies, are totally unsatisfied with the knowledge you already have about your true character?

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Sundance Double Review: 'I Am Michael' and 'The D Train'" »


'I Am Michael' Star Charlie Carver Dishes on His 'Hot as Hell' Threesome With James Franco and Zachary Quinto: VIDEO

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In an interview with HuffPost Live, Teen Wolf and The Leftovers star Charlie Carver revealed behind the scenes tidbits about his gay threesome scene with James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael - calling the scene, "hot as hell"However, Carver's comments moreso pertain to where the scene was filmed: shot in a hot, stuffy Long Island attic during the summer.

Watch Carver and the film's director Justin Kelly speak about the scene, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "'I Am Michael' Star Charlie Carver Dishes on His 'Hot as Hell' Threesome With James Franco and Zachary Quinto: VIDEO" »


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