When William Friedkin submitted Cruising – his Al Pacino-starring thriller about a murderer targeting gay men into the S&M scene – the MPAA slapped it down with an X-rating. Probably not enough violence for them. Famously, Friedkin cut 40 minutes from the film in order to secure an R-rating, but when he wanted to include the deleted footage in a DVD release, he discovered that United Artists no longer had it.
Apparently James Franco does. According to IndieWire, the actor/producer/backslash-lover has been working with Travis Mathews on recreating those lost 40 minutes. Mathews is best known for his documentary series In Their Room and the film I Want Your Love, which he made with porn company NakedSword.
“[Franco] knew he wanted real gay sex in it,” Mathews commented. “His people went looking for a filmmaker who had filmed real gay sex, and I suspect someone who would complement his vision. We talked about why we would be interested in still looking at this film. We talked about his interest in the film and his interest more broadly in so many gay-themed stories and visionaries.”
Mathews submitted a first cut of the project, but Friedkin tweeted yesterday saying that neither Mathews nor Franco had the remake rights to the movie. The concept skirts the definition, but there could be some murky legal waters involved, especially if Friedkin sees the need to pursue.
At this point, Franco being involved in another art project where he’s exploring himself isn’t surprising. It’s also not surprising that it has same-sex themes. He’s an interesting filmmaker, and he’s done good work to make us all raise eyebrows in recent years, but it’ll be a great day when he finds an obsession other than “the concept of James Franco” and really starts exploring stuff that’s not quite so frivolous. He’s an artist in desperate need of a subject.