Middlebrow culture jammer James Franco is very mad at us for writing up a New York Times story that all but said he’s dating his roommate and longtime actor pal Scott Haze. “GAWKER—always getting the cutting edge, homophobic scoop!!!” he wrote on Instagram. It was as if Franco had forgotten that he and Haze have spent the past month playing gay—or their towel-snapping version of it—in order to generate publicity for their new movie, Child of God.
Apart from the pair’s red carpet appearances, Franco and Haze have provided at least seven recent interviews where either have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to insinuate something between them. Maybe you can tell what it is.
James, have you seen any of Scott’s plays?
FRANCO: After “The Beach Play,” I saw many of them.
HAZE: My plays keep James awake.
How’d you two meet?
HAZE: I met James well over 10 years ago in Hollywood, in the back of a parking lot.
I have a short hand of sorts in terms of communication with James on set, it’s a lot of nods, and looks at each other, and after knowing each other for over a decade and how each other works, we get what the other is thinking without really saying anything at all to each other.
I’ll never forget the day James saw me for the first time after I had been living in Tennessee. He stopped by my room at night to say hi and when the door opened, it was unforgettable, his jaw just dropped. To say the least, he was happy and couldn’t stop smiling. It was great.
I cannot put my loyalty to [Franco] into words. I have his back forever. No matter what it is, I’ll be there for him. He’s my brother, and I love him.
[Haze] was so in character that sometimes I felt like I had to protect him. ... We filmed in January, and Scott was already running around in a skimpy outfit. I had to keep telling him, “Scott, if you go in that water, I’m not going to shoot you anymore today.”
I went through a very crazy time, whether it was at the Chateau, running wild in Malibu, I just went through it. [Franco] was able to sneak into my life and give me guidance, basically, when I was going through a hard time. He was there for me.
What do you and Franco do together when you’re not working?
James and I are both really workaholics, so normally we do projects that are fun that involve work. So we’ll throw events at my theater, we’ll go do a play together, we’ll go play paintball naked with real paint.
From Haze’s perspective, Franco’s artistic predilections don’t necessarily stem from queer desire so much as a need to emulate his tireless heroes, who “happened to be homosexual.” That’s another thing Haze and Franco share: identification with LGBT artists known for compulsive creation. “Arthur Rimbaud had sex with men,” Haze says of his favorite poet, “and he’s one of the guys who shaped me hugely when I was young.”
AVC: What kind of head space was Scott Haze in during shooting? Did he go feral on you?
JF: [Laughs.] Scott is one of the best things about the film, obviously, if not the best thing about it. He really threw himself into it.
“I thought, at the end of the day, we’d have a great movie and James and I would hug each other and say we did it.” Haze said. He hopes people will look back on “Child of God” as film as pivotal as “Taxi Driver,” “which was really shocking back in the day. And we get to say, ‘Hey, we did something special, and I think we did.’”
Though Haze has had film writing and directing credits and appeared in about dozen films, he isn't sure if he’s had his breakthrough. “Maybe James Franco. Maybe,” he said. “It was big. You asked me, what is my big moment in acting. It’s this. It’s this movie.”
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