Actor/Writer/Director/Artist/Student/Oscar Host James Franco will not rest until… well, until never, it seems, but especially not until he’s starred in or directed every movie about every famous gay/somewhat-gay person in the world.

There’s Milk, James Dean, Howl, My Own Private River (the video art installation where he and Gus Van Sant chopped and screwed Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho) and the upcoming Hart Crane death-of-a-gay-poet biopic The Broken Tower. Making the rounds at film festivals, the latter features, at least in the current edit, some prosthetic-penis-inclusive, NC-17-courting gay sex. Then there’s Sal, currently in development, concerning the life and tragic murder of Rebel Without A Cause star Sal Mineo.

In his spare time, Franco just collaborated with cool, object-based art quarterly The Thing, creating a limited number of lipstick-tagged mirrors mourning the loss of young actor Brad Renfro. It’s part pin-up, part weepy fan memento, part celebrity death fetish thingy. Here’s a video of him signing each one:

James Franco Issue 14 of THE THING Quarterly from THE THING Quarterly on Vimeo.

Say what you will about the way Franco surfs all the gay waves at Homo Beach, he’s committed to doing exactly as he pleases. And it’s not like there’s a long line of career-hot young actors voluntarily making black-and-white, slow-burn art films about gay poets who commit suicide at a young age. Good on him.

But sometimes the Pineapple Express makes unexpected stops in dark places. Call it the downside to person-of-interest status with gay and gay-leaning media, the unwanted, unsubstantiated sexuality speculation and occasional, whispered scandal. In a new Playboy interview, Franco denounces blogs (not us!) that linked his name to a New York Post blind gossip item about an A-list closeted gay actor rumored to have raped his boyfriend. It’s a nasty bit of business and even the alleged victim of the attack himself denies Franco’s assocation. The actor sets the record straight:

“Then Gawker picked [up the gossip item] and did this ‘Gay Rapist’ story that was so f*cking offensive because I have friends who have been raped. They did a very classy online reader’s poll asking which actor who had a big movie out that summer had beaten up and raped his boyfriend and then paid him off so it wouldn’t go to court… My lawyer called them and said that it was completely untrue and to take it down. They said, ‘Well, we’re just reporting what the New York Post told us. If James wants to make a comment on our blog, we’re happy to report it.’ It was a choice. Either let this thing build and become bigger and bigger, or just let it go and let them be the petty scumbags that they are.”

Can’t the poor man just give simulated oral to prosthetic man parts on camera in peace?

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