James Franco Gay Sex Movie 'Replaces' Banned Explicit Australian Festival Entry

Gay sex movie I Want Your Love Travis MathewsJames Francogay sex movie” Interior. Leather Bar. will replace the sexually explicit “gay sex movie” I Want Your Love, featuring Jesse Metzger and Brenden Gregory.

James Franco 'gay sex movie' replaces another 'gay sex movie' following Australian censorship incident

James Franco and Travis Mathews' sexually charged Interior. Leather Bar, about the recreation of footage purportedly excised from William Friedkin's 1980 cop thriller Cruising, will work as a sort of “replacement movie” for Travis Mathews' own sexually charged I Want Your Love, the story of two gay men (Jesse Metzger and Brenden Gregory) who decide to take their friendship to the sexual level. Although set to be screened at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, I Want Your Love was banned by the Australian Classification Board.

David Cronenberg, the director of Videodrome, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, A Dangerous Method, and Cosmopolis, and who turns 70 today, once said: “Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion.” Now, why have the Australian Classification Board's psychotics chosen to once again make a mockery of democracy?

I Want Your Love: Explicit gay sex scenes 'without the narrative context'

According to the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (website), the Australian Classification Board banned I Want Your Love “because they state that it contains explicit sex scenes without the narrative context to support the sex scenes, and if the film were to be classified it would be given an X rating [pornography] and therefore not available for the sorts of exemption processes the MQFF follow each year. … We're sorry our audience won't be able to make up its own minds about adult content.”

Instead of the two screenings of I Want Your Love, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival will present Michael Mayer's Out in the Dark on March 16 and Peaches' Peaches Does Herself on March 22. On March 25, Interior. Leather Bar will be shown as “consolation” for the I Want Your Love ban.

James Franco protests against Australian censorship on YouTube

A blond, colorfully dressed James Franco took to YouTube (see below) to complain about the Australian Classification Board's censorship actions, calling them “such a disappointment to me” and “really silly.” Franco then explains that “sex is such a big part of our lives,” adding that “it's how [pause] we create children, how we connect.”

The Oz the Great and Powerful and Spider-Man star also states that “the reason I approached Travis to make a film [that's Interior. Leather Bar] was because of his work in I Want Your Love … Frankly, adults should be able to choose. They're not going in blind. I don't know why in this day and age a film that is using sex – not for titillation but to talk about being human – is being banned.”

And that begs the question: Is it ok to ban a movie that presents sex as “titillation”? What would David Cronenberg say? I should add that I Want Your Love was produced by the gay porn company Naked Sword.

Travis Mathews' feature is an expanded version of his own 2010 short, also titled I Want Your Love and available for viewing online on the adult website xhamster.com. Now, make sure to check out James Franco's anti-censorship speech below.

Interior Leather Bar James Franco gay sex movie Val Lauren
James Franco and Travis Mathews' Interior. Leather Bar with Val Lauren.

'Interior. Leather Bar': Self-identified straight men dealing with gay sex while recreating 'Cruising' 'lost footage'

William Friedkin's widely lambasted Cruising, which many at the time perceived as anti-gay, starred Al Pacino as a New York cop investigating a gruesome murder in the dark, seedy, perverted, and all-too-alluring Gay Underworld. Having to “pass for” gay, Pacino's cop ends up catching the gay virus (not AIDS; just plain kinky and potentially deadly gayness) after hanging out at some S&M clubs.

Now, according to William Friedkin, among whose credits are the Oscar-winning The French Connection and the blockbuster The Exorcist, 40 minutes of gay sex scenes (“that material showed the most graphic homosexuality”) were excised from Cruising so the Lorimar / United Artists release wouldn't be slapped with an X rating. Be that as it may – hey, the story could have been about 400 minutes of “graphic homosexuality” ending up on the cutting-room floor – actor-director James Franco and director Travis Mathews have joined forces on Interior. Leather Bar to (sorta) bring those scenes back to life.

Interior. Leather Bar: 'sexual and creative freedom'

According to the film's website, in Interior. Leather Bar “actor Val Lauren [who plays Sal Mineo in James Franco's Sal] reluctantly agrees to take the lead in the film. Val is repeatedly forced to negotiate his boundaries during scenes on and 'off camera,' as unsimulated gay sex happens around him.”

The film's website adds that Interior. Leather Bar explores “sexual and creative freedom” and that it “defies easy categorization” – this, right after referring to Interior. Leather Bar as “queer in subject and form.”

Queer is right. At one point in the Interior. Leather Bar trailer, Val Lauren asks (while James Franco looks on): “Is this something that we as the artists working on it are going to manipulate, to make a certain point, or do you just want it to be what is?”

Interior. Leather Bar, which seems to be a faux documentary featuring explicit man-on-man blow jobs to titillate the Australian Classification Board censors, has already been shown at Sundance and Berlin. Besides its planned Melbourne Queer Film Festival screening, Interior. Leather Bar will also be presented tomorrow at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

In addition to Val Lauren and James Franco, Interior. Leather Bar also features Christian Patrick, Travis Mathews, Brenden Gregory, and Bradley Roberge.

James Franco movies

Also in keeping with the kinky sex theme, James Franco produced Kink, a Christina Voros-directed documentary about the fetish website Kink.com.

In the last 13 years, James Franco has been featured in more than 60 films. Besides the current Oz the Great and Powerful, and the Spider-Man movies, Franco's credits include the box office hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the Julia Roberts star vehicle Eat Pray Love, and Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, which earned him a Best Actor Academy Award nomination.

Upcoming James Franco movies include Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried as former porn star Linda Lovelace (and in which Franco plays Hugh Hefner); Child of God, which Franco himself directed; and Gary Fleder's action thriller Homefront, featuring Jason Statham, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, and New Moon's Rachelle Lefevre.

Note: Initially, this article erroneously identified the Australian Classification Board (a censorship board) as the Australian Film Commission (a film-funding organization).

Jesse Metzger and Brenden Gregory in Travis Mathews' I Want Your Love photo: Naked Sword.

Val Lauren Interior. Leather Bar photo: RabbitBandini Productions.

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1 Comment to James Franco Gay Sex Movie 'Replaces' Banned Explicit Australian Festival Entry

  1. Matt

    Australia doesn't have free speech? I'm shocked.