James Franco doesn’t give a fig what anyone says – he’s happy to play gay.
The actor co-stars in “Milk” as Scott Smith, longtime partner of gay rights martyr Harvey Milk, played by Sean Penn. But although Franco’s performance is already drawing Oscar buzz, some are surprised that, for his next role, he’s chosen to play gay poet Allen Ginsberg in the movie “Howl.”
Franco, who came to fame in the “Spider-Man” movies, has dated actress Marla Sokoloff. But since they parted, his private life has become a matter of keen speculation, especially among his gay fans. Some wicked rumors have percolated on the Web.
But at a time when Hollywood still seems to like its heroic gay characters played by straight men, Franco isn’t bothered by perceptions.
Back-to-back gay roles “don’t make any difference to me,” he told us at Monday’s Cinema Society screening of “Milk.” “Ginsberg has been one of my heroes, and this movie” – about the 1957 obscenity trial over Ginsberg’s most famous poem – “is just so important.”
Never mind that Franco doesn’t look much like the tubby, balding, bearded Ginsberg of the hippie era.
“I’m playing him when he was in his late 20s, just after he went to Columbia,” said Franco, who happens to be a student at the same university. (The girls moon over him in Butler Library.) “We work with the old pictures. He has hair, he doesn’t have a beard and he’s not huge.”
Meanwhile, Franco doesn’t think much of the move to boycott Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah to punish Utah’s Mormon Church for helping finance California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage. “Sundance has no connection to the Mormon Church that I know of,” he said.
Read the full story from the New York Daily News.