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James Franco :: On Oscars, Mapplethorpe & those pesky gay rumors

by Tony Phillips
Contributor
Wednesday Feb 23, 2011
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A checked-out, distant, but not aloof demeanor: it’s what people mean when they say dreamy, but when James Franco enters the room -- or anything, for that matter -- it’s with this detached, dreamy sexiness that hangs in the room like cheap cologne.

As he makes his way down the left aisle of the brand-spanking-new basement screening room at that boutique hotel old reliable 60 Thompson, the first thing one notices are the shoes: dirty white sneakers that could have survived Franco’s trapped in a cave ordeal chronicled in -- and lasting for -- 127 Hours.

James Franco’s footwear was certainly not pulled by Rachel Zoe, or any other stylist, for that matter. They are not the shoes of a movie star, let alone one of this season’s best actor Oscar nominees, not to mention the evening’s co-master of ceremonies.


Miles to go

They are about nothing if not mileage, and Franco, between lazy cat-like stretches from a high director’s chair in the front of the room, gives the impression of a 32-year-old performance artist with miles to go -- however manically -- before he sleeps. And if this matinee idol has clay feet, the rest of him is solid gold shining in the sun.

Before he even answers the first question on a panel, which includes his 127 Hours director Danny Boyle, writer Simon Beaufoy, producer Christian Colson and the man himself, real life caver and author of 127 Hours source material Aron Ralston, Franco demonstrates that his reserves are encyclopedic.

"By the way," Franco tells a beloved junketeer from Boston nicknamed "Clickety-Clacks" because of his penchant for inputing the proceedings directly into his laptop as they are happening, "you were great in Joaquin’s documentary."

But before the actor can even get around to answering Clickety-Clack’s question about last fall’s one-man survey of Franco’s highly conceptual, mixed-media fine art at a way off the beaten path gallery in the clock tower of a city-owner building in Lower Manhattan, he pauses for a brief tango with the inquisitor.



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