james franco explains his fascination with gay culture

The tireless multi-hyphenate says it's 'healthy' to make work that disrupts the heteronormative narrative.

by Hannah Ongley
25 March 2016, 4:35pm

james franco, new film still #6, 2013 james franco/pace gallery

Oscar Wilde might have argued that life imitates art more than art imitates life, but James Franco has dedicated the last decade of his career to completely eradicating the line between the two. Even his latest interview makes it impossible to tell if he is completely manic or just playing the part of a caffeine-addicted polymath who literally reads two novels at once during a short break in shooting one of the 16 film projects he currently has slated for release this year. One of the most memorable instances of this tendency of Franco's was during a years-long attempt by Gawker to out the actor as gay, a problematic crusade that Franco responded to via a magazine article: "I'm gay in my art and straight in my life," he wrote, adding, "I'm also gay up to the point of intercourse." He even published a book called Straight James / Gay James, which was sandwiched by approximately 85,000 other projects (and Instagram selfies) exploring the nuances of sexuality. The actor now explains his obsession with that culture to Rolling Stone

"When I was studying at NYU, I took classes in critical studies, and one of my favorites was on queer cinema," Franco says. "We've told the straight, heteronormative stories ad nauseam by now, in our movies, our shows, our commercials — everywhere. I think it's healthy to make work that disrupts and questions that, and shows alternative narratives. That's what an artist should do." 

Franco says the homoerotic vibe of his Instagram feed is "a way of finding out what boundaries are and pressing buttons," adding that the speculation surrounding his sexuality act as a "smokescreen" when dating women. Though — shocker — he also reveals that dating isn't really a thing he has time for right now.


Text Hannah Ongley

james franco
Rolling Stone