They're the two questions actor James Franco hears almost every time he sits down for an interview: "Are you gay?" and "are you stoned?"
The multi-hyphenate, perpetually heavy-lidded actor (who, for the record, denies that he's a smoker) has aroused curiosity about his sexuality by playing a number of high-profile gay parts in movies such as "Milk," "Howl" and his upcoming "The Broken Tower."
Franco, who has been in a relationship with actress Ahna O'Reilly for more than five years, has avoided the definitive denial/confirmation that other high-profile celebrities have made in the past when questioned about their sexual preferences. In a recent
target="_blank">Entertainment Weeklycover story, though, he tackled the issue head-on and provided, well, clarity of a sort.
"It's funny because the way that kind of stuff is talked about on blogs is so black-and-white," Franco said. "It's all cut-and-dry identity politics. 'Is he straight or is he gay?' Or, 'This is your third gay movie — come out already!' And all based on gay or straight, based on the idea that your object of affection decides your sexuality." The "127 Hours" star has spurred further talk about his bedroom politics with news that he's planning to write the screenplay and direct a biopic about gay "Rebel Without a Cause" actor Sal Mineo.
"There are lots of other reasons to be interested in gay characters than wanting myself to go out and have sex with guys," he said about why he chooses the roles he does and why gay parts are often much meatier than other ones he's offered. "I mean, I've played a gay man who's living in the '60s and '70s, a gay man who we depicted in the '50s, and one being in the '20s. And those were all periods when to be gay, at least being gay in public, was much more difficult. Part of what I'm interested in is how these people who were living anti-normative lifestyles contended with opposition."
But, ever the provocateur, the sometime "General Hospital" guest star, painter, author and Ph.D. student ended the interview with another explanation for why he might be choosing all these homosexual roles.
"You know what, maybe I'm just gay."
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