James Franco gave a long and candid interview to Playboy in which he discussed his sexuality, his gig hosting the Oscars, and a vicious rumor that suggested he raped another man.
Franco lashed out against the website Gawker, which in 2008 ran a poll related to a New York Post blind item that stated a closeted gay actor raped his ex-boyfriend and then gave him a half-million dollars as hush money; Gawker readers guessed Franco was the actor. While Franco said the rumors that he is gay are simply rumors, he said the rape allegations were unsettling because he has friends who have been raped.
When queried about his interest in playing and writing gay characters — his next projects include playing gay actor Sal Mineo and gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe — Franco said he has an interest in the ambiguity of sexuality.
"Between World War I and World War II, straight guys could have sex with other guys and still be perceived as straight as long as they acted masculine," Franco tells the magazine. "Whether you were considered a 'fairy' or a 'queer' back then wasn’t based on sexual acts so much as outward behavior. Into the 1950s, 1960s and so on, the straight and gay thing came up based on your sexual partner. Because of those labels, you do it once and you’re gay, so you get fewer guys who are kind of in the middle zone. It sounds as though I’m advocating for an ambiguous zone or something, but I’m just interested in the way perception changes behavior."
Read the full interview here.