James Franco critiques “Shame” film for its representation of gay life


In his contribution to VICE for the week of November 11, James Franco voiced his distaste for the director Steve McQueen’s depiction of sex addiction and representation of gay life in the 2011 film “Shame.”

Michael Fassbender (who also has a big supporting role in “12 Years A Slave,” which Franco reviewed in the same article) and Carey Mulligan (who plays iconic blonde Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s version of “The Great Gatsby,” which Franco tackled in an earlier VICE column) both star in “Shame.” The film follows the New York City fast life of a man (played by Fassbender) with a sex addiction, which is disrupted when his sister (Mulligan) arrives unannounced, for an indefinite stay. The racy film was rated NC-17 for its explicit sexual content.

The portrayal of “sex addiction” and gay life didn’t bode well with Franco, who wrote in his column for VICE, “He wasn’t such an addict in my opinion, though. I mean, what did he do? Watch porn and screw a handful of people a week? I could point to quite a few folks who do that. And that scene where he’s at his lowest point and wants to fuck and goes into a gay club, and it’s depicted like the seventh level of hell…I mean, it goes back to the horrible representations of gays in the 70s, where the gay club is meant to signify everything dark and depraved. Then the guy gets a minor blowjob, from, Oh no, a man! The horror!

Franco, who starred as Harvey Milk’s lover in the 2008 film “Milk” opposite Sean Penn, has never been one to stray away from gay culture and has been a recurring voice speaking about the LGBT community throughout the course of his career. He recently revealed that his attraction to portraying gay characters stems from the fact that a lot of influential figures in his life were gay.

Check out Franco’s complete VICE column here.


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