'Gay Rapist' Actor Surprisingly Cool About His SexualityIs James Franco gay or what? You'll remember there was that ominous rumor that he once raped his gay lover that was sort of intense and icky. We're told that the original tip that prompted the Page Six blind item, about an actor who broke into his ex-boyfriend's house an sexually assaulted him, mentioned Franco specifically. We received several other anonymous (and admittedly questionable) emails saying the same thing, one providing explicit details. So who the heck knows, but for whatever reason the rumor had traction. Which makes us queasy. But now the actor is on the cover of Out magazine this month, acting calm, collected, and confident in his heterosexuality, so we're all confused again. In the interview, he discusses his new film Milk, a biopic about 1970's gay rights activist Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn). Franco plays Milk's longtime partner Scott Smith, and, if his interview with Out is any indication, he's just a straight guy who is surprisingly relaxed about his sexuality. There's none of the caginess of a closeted man, and none of the "it was fine. It was just work" rigidness of a straight actor desperately trying to feel comfortable about kissing a dude. Instead, he's just frank (heh) and honest, expressing an interest in (or at least a knowledge of) "queer cinema." He'll also be playing gay poet Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming movie Howl. All of which makes us like him! I mean, other than this queasy-making gay rapist rumor, Franco otherwise comes across as refreshingly "enlightened"—a dashing, talented young man with an active interest in furthering his education and a sober, respectably artistic approach to supposedly difficult issues of a hetero playing a homo. From the Out interview, with Milk screenwriter Lance Black:
James: At one point during rehearsals, the idea was thrown out that Sean and I would go to the apartment that we eventually shot in and spend a night or two there just to, like — I don't know what — feel comfortable with each other? That idea was kind of thrown out but ended up not happening because of scheduling. I approached the relationship part as I would approach any relationship. When I'm working with another actor or actress that I'm supposed to have a relationship with, I'll look for things in the person I like. My other hero on the film was Sean, so it wasn't too hard to look up to him — or whatever that is. Lance: You fell in love with Sean? Is that what you're saying? James: Basically, I've been in love with him since even before Fast Times.
So, I guess, the mystery deepens. Franco may be hiding some dark and closeted secrets. Or, you know, maybe there's no mystery at all and grim rumors are just grim rumors and Franco is just a straight actor possessed of a progressive and exploratory spirit and I'm kind of an ass for harping on this gay stuff, because why should straight actors feel chased away from gay roles, you know? (Plus, why does Out keep putting straight actors on their cover as if to dangle some tantalizing, forbidden fruit?) Anyway, here are more photos from the issue for you to ogle: 'Gay Rapist' Actor Surprisingly Cool About His Sexuality 'Gay Rapist' Actor Surprisingly Cool About His Sexuality