Coming Soon: James Franco Performs Oral On Prosthetic Penis In Hart Crane Biopic

The viewing public will soon be able to see James Franco perform oral sex on Academy Award-winning Michael Shannon’s… prosthetic penis.

It all goes down in The Broken Tower, a 99-minute Hart Crane biopic that Franco wrote and directed for his NYU thesis. The black-and-white film, which premieres April 27 at the IFC Center in New York, follows Franco as gay poet Hart, who notoriously slept with sailors; Michael Shannon plays one he falls in love with—and goes down on.

It’s just the next chapter in his master plan to make a movie about every famous gay person that ever lived.

Of the fellatio, the Wrap writes:

The… oral sex scene between Crane and another man… gets so explicit as to all but guarantee an NC-17 rating. (Though the scene is dimly lit, it clearly shows Franco performing oral sex on what is reportedly a prosthetic penis.)

“My guess is that the two scenes people will talk about the most are the blow-job scene and the 10-minute poetry reading,” Franco said, to laughter from the packed house at the Regal Cinemas.

And Michael Musto says there’s (gasp) straight sex, too:

“From late adolescence, Crane drank heavily. He spent a great deal of time in underworld sex picking up sailors in the harbors of New York, all the while trying to conceal his sexual identity from his parents. Towards the end of his life, his behavior grew increasingly violent and self-destructive. He was jailed on several occasions in New York, Paris, and Mexico.

Near the end, he did have what seems to be his only heterosexual relationship with Peggy Cowley, the ex-wife of  critic and publisher Malcolm Cowley. Crane committed suicide when he returned with Cowley from Mexico in 1932 by jumping off the deck of a ship. He was 32.”

We’ll definitely be at the premiere.

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  • Marie Cohn

    Actually, it’s Michael Shannon who looks more like Hart Crane than Franco does.

  • Just being real

    This is OLD news queerty. You should have covered this when the movie first came out. Franco is closeted bisexual or gay and apparently has a drug problem, and he’s a boring actor.

  • John

    I think Shannon was nominated for an Oscar but did not win.

  • MEJ

    So Franco wanted the sensationalism of doing a blow job scene, but didn’t want to actually suck a dick. Maybe not being a Hollyweird type, I just don’t understand the difference between sucking a real looking rubber dick, and sucking an actual dick.

  • Paul F

    @MEJ: The taste.

  • RomanHans

    @MEJ: Christ, what a bucket of idiots here. One guy thinks a movie that hasn’t shown anywhere has already come out. Another idiot thinks sucking a rubber dick is just like the real thing. Then over in the soccer apology thread there’s the usual band of morons saying gay people are hypersensitive.

    It’s unfortunate there are so many closeted idiots foaming at the mouth that there are happy, adjusted, open homosexuals here, and they just can’t tear themselves away from all the man flesh. Well, here’s hoping one day they’ll realize their true nature . . . or their heads will explode from so much homosexuality overloading such tiny, tiny minds.

  • ian

    I’ve seen it, not very good but I do respect JF for his making a little known and gay poet the subject of his 1st film. He must be a poetry lover, which I can appreciate, and have a genuine interest in ‘outsider’ artists who in many cases happen to be gay, like Hart Crane, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Mapplethorp. The one thing I found distracting in his film was his physical beauty. It’s difficult getting into a character when you are more interested in how hot the actor is. Another distraction was the many seemingly random shots of cityscapes, the Brooklyn Bridge etc. seemed like filler. And the BJ scene? Nice, but really unnecessary.

  • Pygar

    Hart Crane is an important American poet who had a difficult, short, and ultimately tragic life. He’s the American Rimbaud actually. His contribution to the culture means more than just a blow job.

  • MEJ


    That was almost a coherent thought, Roman. Read my comment again, and try–desperately–to understand my point.

  • Barry White

    I love James Franco. Love him. I want to marry him. He is the hottest man on earth. I want to have his baby. I want to get pregant and have his baby. I want to. I do.

  • Mikey

    This movie’s actually already out. It was on iTunes months ago, as well as Comcast OnDemand and I think Amazon. I didn’t watch the movie, just skipped right to the oral scene, lol. Unfortunately it’s super dark and blurry. It looked realistic, and he seemed to know what he was doing. lol It wouldn’t surprise me if it was the real thing. I’m sure he’s done it before.

  • queertypie

    James Franco, please come out already. You know you want to.

  • G

    I’d like to see more real dicks in movies. I understand that Franco might not be comfortable sucking on a real dick, but I hear that Wanderlust is full of prosthetic dick. What’s wrong with showing the real thing in movies? They’ve been showing all of women’s bodies for ages already.

  • Mark


    Actually, there is a big difference. He’s acting. He’s not really interested in having sex with his male co-star.

    Who would have thought that an actor acts.

    Also, it’s great to see so much homophobia here. When a straight actor plays gay roles, it obviously means that he must be gay according to you folks. How great of you to carry on the bigotry we see from the straight community.

  • Brand

    @MEJ et al: The difference is that sucking an actual dick is performing a real sex act on film, AKA porn, whereas sucking a prosthetic penis is not, AKA acting.

    I hate to burst your bubble, but when straight actors are rolling around between the sheets onscreen, there’s no actual sex there, either. The actors portraying the straight couples aren’t heterophobic when they don’t actually have sex in the scene where you’re meant to think they do; similarly, the actors portraying the gay couples aren’t homophobic for doing the same.

    When you see people drinking alcohol or doing drugs in a film, they’re not actually doing that either. Again, it’s called acting.

    And if you don’t understand the difference between sucking a rubber dick and a real one, then what’s your problem with this? Clearly your point is to insult him and say that acting the part of a gay character to this degree is no different from actually being gay. I say that’s an insult not because actually being gay is a bad thing, but because the response every time some straight-identifying actor plays a gay role, straight and gay people alike who share the perspective of several in this thread try and distort the fact to blur his real identity into one where maybe he’s really gay. It’s insulting when people say someone like Matt Bomer isn’t really gay, not because being straight is an insult but because refusing to accept someone for how they identify themselves to you is an insult to them and to anyone who respects someone’s right to be or choose to present themselves as whoever they are or however they wish.

    People don’t act like this when someone plays a killer, or someone who dies in a heartbreaking film. “Oh, he must really want to get sick and die in real life.” What about all the films where someone is in a fight? Do you say, “I guess he wanted the sensationalism of having it look like he got beaten up, but didn’t want to actually get beaten up.” That’s absurd. Can’t you see this is equally absurd?

    It’s a real-life character who had a notorious sex life. It’s an acting challenge. People prepare and rehearse and use makeup and lighting and camera tricks and other special effects all the time to give you the effect that something is happening onscreen that didn’t really happen.

    And yes, even among gay people it seems to be an audience challenge as well.

  • MEJ


    Actually, there is a big difference. He’s acting. He’s not really interested in having sex with his male co-star.

    So if Franco had to do a scene involving cunnilingus with a female co-star I assume he would use a prosthetic vagina?

  • MEJ


    The difference is that sucking an actual dick is performing a real sex act on film, AKA porn, whereas sucking a prosthetic penis is not, AKA acting.

    I guess you never watched “Brown Bunny”, or “O Phantasmo”. Lot’s of acting from actors in those films. Not to mention, “Pink Flamingos”, or any of the multitude of films made over the decades where no prosthetic penis was used:

    If Franco doesn’t want to commit fully to his character, then he shouldn’t play the character. This is just another stunt on Franco’s part to get attention for himself.

    The rest of your comment isn’t worth replying to.

  • Brand

    @MEJ: No, I never watched those films, though I know about them, and the argument against them was that it was a raunchy porny stunt, not acting.

    And I reiterate, when an actor does a scene where he’s supposedly performing cunnilingus with a female costar, he is not actually doing that. This isn’t some anomaly unique to Franco, and using it to insult him is not fooling anybody that you’re just someone with a, um, bone to pick.

    The 52 films on the list you link to are not, as the list erroneously asserts, “Mainstream” films. The most famous/infamous three or four were independent releases that look mainstream in that company but were quite out of the mainstream. Most of the rest of those titles are cheap niche, experimental, exploitation, stunty porny Z-grade films. That’s not to say that Franco’s “The Broken Tower” is some wide-release Disney picture, it’s just to say that the very point one would be expected to take away from a list of 52 films among the what, two million, that have been made in the past 100 years is that this is a very rare, unusual, unpopular, completely out-of-the-mainstream thing.

    No actor is expected to have sex onscreen in a film; it was a daring thing for Franco to do; it is no less real than anything else you’re seeing in any other film (save the 52 on that list, but I’d venture to guess the “real sex” is all most have to recommend them, and I’d go further out on that limb to guess most people for whom that’s not “their thing” would be completely unimpressed by the sex scenes anyway.

    I reiterate: real sex in a film is real sex in a film, a trashy stunt that is almost as a rule unsexy; simulated sex in a film is the norm—some of it is convincing, some not; some sexy, some not (and of course it depends on who you are and when in your life you see it)—but the point of acting is to make something that is not actually really happening from the standpoint of the actor appear be really unfolding before the audience’s eyes. And—current TV genres included—I’ll take convincing and compelling fakery over tawdry, dawdly, exploitative reality any day.

  • MEJ


    No, I never watched those films, though I know about them, and the argument against them was that it was a raunchy porny stunt, not acting.

    So an actor sucking on a prosthetic penis is acting, and an actor sucking on a real penis is doing porn?

    How is what Franco is doing any different than the big deal the media made about Mark Wahlberg and his fake penis in Boogie Nights? That was just a media stunt to generate attention.

  • Brand

    Yes, MEJ, an actor sucking on a prosthetic penis is acting, and an actor sucking on a real penis is doing porn.

    Again, the corollaries:

    An actor pretending to shoot drugs in a scene is acting, and an actor actually shooting drugs in a scene is doing drugs, which is illegal, dangerous, life-threatening, and lame from an acting standpoint.

    Actors pretending to fight and wound each other in a scene are acting, and actors actually fighting and wounding each other in a scene are…do you really not get any of this?

    Actors pretending to torture and kill each other in a scene are acting, and actors actually torturing and killing each other in a scene are doing a snuff film. Illegal, immoral…

    That’s before you get to the idea that some scenes have to be shot over and over again in order not only to get them right but to get them from different camera angles. A good many porn actors over the years have taken drugs, from ecstasy to viagra at best. They use fluffers and have learned or been trained to exercise control over their release. And, the part you seem to be completely oblivious to, they’re selected because of their uniquely large endowment on the one hand and their willingness to show it off for money. Even with all the women flashing their tits onscreen today, the truth is that most legitimate actresses rarely do nude scenes and many never do them. Many more who have have used body doubles. And even with all the women doing these scenes, men do not. Call it a double standard, be annoyed straight guys are catered to in this way by mainstream films and television, but gay guys are not.

    But if you’re going to act like any film that doesn’t have some actor showing his real erection, much less another actor going down on it, is somehow a combination of sensationalistic yet uniquely devoid of verisimilitude—when again, 99.999% of non-porn films and even those directed solely at a gay audience and being primarily about sex and starring out gay guys don’t show them with raging hardons and actually going down on one another—you’re completely detached from reality. As I said, you’re coming off as just some jaded guy with a niche interest who’s tired of the same 52 trashy flicks and are picking on James Franco for some reason.

    To your last question, it’s different because Wahlberg was flashing what was supposed to be his own character’s legendary penis. You didn’t see anybody actually going down on it, though, and certainly not another guy. You didn’t even see it erect. The gist of the difference is that Wahlberg’s film’s central theme was “Hey, I got the biggest cock in town so I’m going into porn”—cheaply titillating on the face of it yet by design a let-down when compared to its most obvious competition, which was real porn—considering that his film only shows you a second here and a second there of what is the main character/theme of the film. The let-down isn’t that it’s prosthetic, it’s that it’s all talk and virtually no show for the whole point of the story, the character, and the film. And we had already seen name actors (though a precious few, mostly only once or twice, and generally only fairly early in their stardom) flashing their actual flaccid penis on film.

    By contrast, Franco’s film’s central theme is a tortured, short-lived poet who not incidentally had a notorious sex life; it’s showing you a graphic bit of that sex life for the stark reality of it because merely hearing about it was shocking back then, and now it takes showing the image to be shocking. The shot is not just about him flashing his dick, it’s about him going down on another guy’s cock. Unlike Wahlberg’s lame cop-out—the cop-out not being that he didn’t use his real penis but we didn’t see the prosthesis at length, in both senses of the word, seeing as how it was all anybody in the film was talking about and the central point of his work as a porn star—Franco’s blowjob is an insight into his character and a movie first, yet not the central theme of the film nor of his character’s work. And yet we have never seen a name actor, and certainly not one famous for a decade, with an Oscar nod or two under his belt, nodding over what’s under another actor’s belt, which we actually see, prosthetic or not.

    It’s your right to have and to state any opinion you want, but I’m just letting you know it shows your willful ignorance and bias against Franco—and even, working against your apparent motivation, seems to argue against pushing the envelope of the depiction of sexuality in non-porn film, by labeling it “a media stunt to generate attention” rather than a giant leap in your direction beyond any other mainstream American male actor—and you come off as oblivious, fringy, counterintuitive, and out of touch, rather than what you’re apparently going for which is jaded and worldly and impatient for the chance to go to the mall and see famous actors actually sucking their co-stars’ erections. Franco took a huge leap. It’s not as far as you’d like, but denying it’s a huge leap, or uniquely a let down on the grounds that it’s artifice rather than actual sex, is ridiculous and completely out of touch with the point of movies, which are about acting, controlled technical tricks, and special effects to set a mood and paint a picture and tell a story, to give the sense of reality and affect an audience with that artifice, rather than actually presenting 100% real people doing 100% real things for the novelty of it in the hopes of the peculiar satisfaction of oppugnant perpetually blase disparagers like yourself.

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