James Franco Explains Why He Likes It When People Think He's Gay

03/18/2015 12:09 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

James Franco gets candid about his sexuality and seemingly gay persona in the latest issue of FourTwoNine magazine, in which he interviews himself as "Straight James Franco" talking to "Gay James Franco."

The 36-year-old actor has been the subject of gay rumors since he was in high school. Now as a celebrity, his public image has become entwined with his ambiguous sexuality, bolstered by his taking on homoerotic roles and directing gay-centric films. Even Zachary Quinto, who plays opposite Franco in "I Am Michael," a film about former gay activist Michael Glatze, has been been coy about Franco's dalliances.

In FourTwoNine, Gay James Franco and Straight James Franco discuss the many facets of Franco himself.

He admits he is gay ... in his art.

"I like to think that I’m gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I’m also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I’m straight. So I guess it depends on how you define gay. If it means whom you have sex with, I guess I’m straight. In the twenties and thirties, they used to define homosexuality by how you acted and not by whom you slept with. Sailors would fuck guys all the time, but as long as they behaved in masculine ways, they weren’t considered gay."

Blurred lines don't scare him.

"I guess I mean that I like my queer public persona. I like that it’s so hard to define me and that people always have to guess about me. They don’t know what the hell is up with me, and that’s great. Not that I do what I do to confuse people, but as long as they are confused, I get time to play."

Having gay sex might not stop him from "exoticizing" gay lifestyles.

"Maybe sex with a guy would change things, but I doubt it. Like I said, I’m gay in my art. Or, I should say, queer in my art. And I’m not this way for political reasons, although sometimes it becomes political, like when I voted for same-sex marriage, etc. But what it’s really about is making queer art that destabilizes engrained ways of being, art that challenges hegemonic thinking."

But he doesn't mind people already thinking he has gay sex.

"Because it means that I can be a figure for change. I am a figure who can show the straight community that many of their definitions are outdated and boring. And I can also show the gay community that many of the things about themselves that they are giving up to join the straight community are actually valuable and beautiful."

james franco


Related on HuffPost:

Celebrities Who've Faced Gay Rumors
Suggest a correction