Why James Franco Is Drawn to Gay Projects

Why James Franco Is Drawn to Gay Projects

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The multi-hyphenate says sexuality is secondary when he's choosing jobs

With the recent release of the biopic “Sal,” its director James Franco once again takes on a story revolving around a central figure who's gay.

His propensity to do gay projects has certainly caused many to speculate about his sexuality – clearly it was a huge topic of the recent Comedy Central Roast in his honor. But, Franco takes all of that in stride.

“Of course I'm for equal rights and will do whatever I can do to help make that happen,” Franco told The Daily Beast.

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“But I feel like because I've done more gay characters, gay scenes, or gay projects than most straight actors, people see it as some sort of mission,” he continued. “It's more of a case-by-case basis, and just trying to capture figures that I love. I guess that a lot of the figures that I love were gay.”

“Sal,” which portrays out gay actor Sal Mineo on his final day of life, opened earlier this month. Mineo, a child actor who was Oscar-nominated for his roles in “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Exodus,” saw his career decline in the 1960s as he grew older and his homosexuality kept him from landing parts.

The biopic would be just one of the many projects in which Franco captured the lives of gay people during his prolific career, including “Milk,” “The Broken Tower” and “Howl.”

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“It's not like it's my mission to tell the stories of as many gay men as possible, although in some cases, I think it is the point,” the 35-year-old said.

“In ‘Milk,’ the point is to show one of the great fighters for equal rights for the gay community, so I was happy to do that,” he continued. “With characters like Allen Ginsberg [in 'Howl'], my love for him started with his work when I was a teenager. So his sexuality is secondary to me. It's an important aspect of who he was and his character, but it wasn't like, ‘Yes, I want to play another gay role,’ it was more, ‘Yes, I'd love to play another one of my heroes.'”

  • sean

    After I read about his defending ‘I want your love”
    I wonder if he likes men a little. I love him :)

  • Kevin Bodisch

    After reading this article I agree with Franco I don't think he sets out to do gay roles like he stated in the article he is a man who is portraying his heroes or a character that he read for and he feel in love with the role and feels that he could do the role justice then by all means play that role. I think he views the characters sexual orientation secondary or not at all. I think he asks himself as any great actor should can I do justice to the character I am playing? If you act a part to just have a job there is no life, no soul, no depth, no growth to the character. Now you have an actor like Franco who is willing to risk his reputation, his career, and ultimately risking him self as a person to do these roles because he feels that he can bring depth, feeling, emotion, life and soul to a character. I say excellent job James Franco keep going after the roles you want to act. Don't let others dictate your path if you can make the character live be it a straight or gay character then have at it for it is you all actors who's job it is to make the character believable and if you can't then it is time for you to find a new career.