Get a Peek of James Franco's Sexy Gay Art Film

By: Daniel Villarreal

Actor James Franco has long dabbled in gay art film. But his newest collaboration with "mumbleporn" director Travis Mathews marks his first foray into gay porn.

Before you get your hopes up, Franco doesn't get naked or have gay sex in the film 40 Minutes. Instead, the film is an imagined recreation of the 40 minutes of footage removed from the 1980 Al Pacino film Cruising.

In Cruising, Pacino plays a detective investigating a serial killer who primarily targets gay tricks in New York's leather scene. The director, William Friedkin, reportedly had to cut 40 minutes from the film just to recieve an R-rating for widescale theatrical release.

Activists in New York protested against film's portrayal of gay men as villainous and predatory sexual sadists, worried that it would increase anti-gay discrimanation and hate crimes. However, the film also used active members of NYC's S&M scene as extras, who were reportedly delighted to take part in the first mainstream depictions of their community.

"We wanted to revisit [Cruising] for many reasons," Franco tells PAPERMAG. "One of which was to celebrate the unapologetic queerness of the material, the anti-normative stance that the men in the old leather bars embraced." 

Mathews liked the idea because it would allow him to make a short film on a small budget with a vintage aesthetic. For the trailer (watch here) he told his actors to "cruise the camera."

"I wanted to show 2012 guys and their interpretation of cruising because I feel like in a lot of the ways in the gay community the idea of cruising is sort of a lost art," says Mathews in a PAPERMAG interview. "Everybody has their phones now, it's not like how you would go to the park or go into the bar and a lot of serious cruising would happen."

He also says he thought it would be fun to have a collection of guys cruising in their own way, and watching the trailer, he's right. It's sexy, intimate, and sometimes off-putting, but then again, so is sex.

40 Minutes, which ended up as a "documentary-esque making-of film" will be showing in the dressing rooms of CoSTUME NATIONAL's space in New York City until October 15. If you live there, check it out. Who knows? You might pick up a guy while you're there.