SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

James Franco Talks About Gay Sex (Again) And New Film, “Interior, Leather Bar.”

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 4.07.25 PMEntertainment Weekly caught up with James Franco to ask him some questions about his and co-creator Travis Mathews’ new Sundance entry, Interior, Leather Bar.

The controversial film is a re-imagining of what was filmed during a 40-minute sequence allegedly cut from William Friedkin’s Cruising. When it was released in 1980, Cruising raised the ire of the LGBT community, which objected to be depicted as sex-crazed perverts.

What else prompted you to jump into doing a movie about this community, the gay S&M scene? Travis Mathews’ own movies focus on gay men.
I felt it was really hard to find people engaging with this material in an exciting way. There was a lot there that was still kind of censored. Not [just] censored by a ratings board, and it has been, but also by economics, that no one is going to make these movies and distribute them in certain places. I wanted to engage in that without holding back, and find a way in. It was a gradual process to find what the way in would be. Along the way I was introduced to Travis and Travis’

“Interior. Leather. Bar”

work, and very quickly realized that the project would be served by having an equal collaborator, someone who had more experience than me in this sort of material. In some ways, he was my guide.

In the Interior. Leather Bar. clip we’re premiering on EW.com, you flinch at the beginning, watching a heavy-duty S&M scenario. Had you seen any porn being filmed, in person, before Interior. Leather Bar. and kink?
I actually had seen some before. Before I did Interior. Leather Bar., I had seen some porn being shot at the kink.com facility in San Francisco. And when preparing for a role I did a long time ago called Sonny [in 2002], in which I played a male prostitute, I observed a guy prostitute on a date and he took me along and let me watch. I was probably 22. If I was flinching, it probably had something to do with the BDSM. There’s a guy named Master Avery, and he was spanking some other guys with a paddle. He was doing it a lot, so one of the guy’s asses got really bruised. So I was probably reacting to that.

You play a hybrid role in Interior. Leather Bar. as actor, observer and director, but you’re always observing the sex, never participating in it yourself. Which would definitely grab people’s attention if you did!
I play a dual role in this project. I co-directed and designed it with Travis, but I’m also in front of the camera, and my presence in front of the camera is an important component of the movie. Maybe the sequel, I engage in the sex. It wasn’t my job to do that in this piece. In some ways, that would put too much focus on myself, I think, the focus I was actually having sex in front of a camera. That would take all the attention. It’s about me and it’s not about me. It’s about me lending my history and my place in movies to a project that may otherwise not get the same amount of attention. It’s enough for me to be the observer in this. real sex.

To see an exclusive NSFW trailer from Interior, Leather Bar, visit EW.com