James Franco is asking the Australian Classification Board to reconsider its decision to ban "I Want Your Love," a feature film from Franco's "Interior. Leather Bar." co-director, Travis Matthews.
"This just is such a disappointment to me and just seems really silly," Franco says in a video uploaded to Matthews' YouTube channel on Monday.
Matthews' film –'I Want Your Love" –exploring gay male relationships has been banned from screening at festivals in Australia due to scenes containing explicit sex that the censors don't believe have any narrative context.
"Travis is making this film, including sex because he wants to explore story and character in the nuances that sex contains," the actor says. "Because films have been banned because of sex, sex in films hasn't had a chance to grow and become a sophisticated storytelling device."
"I Want Your Love" was scheduled to be screened twice at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival this month, but organizers have reluctantly replaced the programming and apologized to the audience.
"We're shocked that Classification Australia have taken this path. 'I Want Your Love' has screened to critical acclaim at dozens of festivals around the world. Australia is the first film festival to have it banned," a message on the MQFF's website reads. "We're sorry our audience won't be able to make up its own minds about adult content."
Franco, who returns to the box office this weekend in Sam Raimi's "Oz the Great and Powerful," agrees that adults should "be able to choose" their own viewing.
"They're not going in blind. I don't know why, in this day and age, something like this — a film that is using sex, not for titillation, but to talk about being human — is being banned," he concludes. "It's just embarrassing."
Watch Franco's plea: