(Originally Published on The Huffington Post on 5/16/2013)
This Friday night James Franco and Travis Matthews‘ stunning, complicated and sexually graphic new film Interior. Leather Bar., a “docu-fiction” exploration of queer sex and BDSM subculture as it relates to Hollywood, mainstream culture and where we all draw the line as people, is making its Pacific Northwest debut at QDoc: Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival.
I had the opportunity to catch up with both Franco and Matthews this week to chat about the public’s reaction to the movie (so far), their intentions behind making it to begin with, how gay sex will save American cinema, and much more.
Watch the official Interior. Leather Bar. trailer and then read our conversation below:
Logan Lynn: Thanks for taking time out to do this, you guys! I watched the screener of Interior. Leather Bar. this week and ended up recognizing a handful of the actors you cast from Portland. One major focus of the film is the inner struggle of Val Lauren, whom you cast to play the Al Pacino character, and I am just wondering if this is something you experienced with all of the cast. Was there a process you went through with each of the actors and extras?
Travis Matthews: If you mean a process that went as far and as deep and exploratory as it did with Val, no. Initially when we did the casting call, and there were so many guys who were both gay and straight, and a lot of them had different ideas of what they were willing to do, what was OK, what was too much. I kind of thought that we should just bring on extras that were really 100-percent behind this, but then it seemed like it made a lot more sense just to complement the arc that was Val’s story. You look at Cruising; it’s a story that follows that main character in a very similar way. That was a lot of the intent.
Lynn: That makes sense. I’m seeing the term “docu-fiction” used all over the place to describe the movie. In the context of this film, what does that mean to you?
James Franco: I think that describes a lot of different dynamics that are happening within the film. Our source was a piece of fiction, a movie called Cruising, but that fictional feature film had a lot of documentary kind of history attached to it in a very strong way. If anybody knows that film nowadays, it’s very hard to extract the film from its history, the history of its production and the protests that went on, the history of its reception and the personal histories of the people involved. So, from the start, our project was engaged with a source that was already combining docu-fiction in a very strong way. I think that the way that Cruising and its history are tied together informed our approach, and a lot of it really was discovery and exploration as we went. We didn’t have any firm goal in mind. I think that, for me, one of the clearest things about the project at the beginning was that we had an area to explore, but that it would be an exploration. That was a huge part of it. Anyway, I guess that’s a long way of saying our source involved docu-fiction and our approach accordingly involved docu-fiction.
Lynn: Do you have any theories on what William Friedkin’s motivations were in making the original Cruising film? Have you heard him speak to that?
Franco: Yeah, I have heard him speak about it, and he Read the rest of this entry »