James Franco explores sex in Sundance films

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013
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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — There's a lot of leather and sex in James Franco's life right now.

The 34-year-old actor-director is part of three movies at the Sundance Film Festival that deal with sex, pornography, and bondage and discipline.

"I guess I'm drawn to it," he said in an interview at the annual independent-film showcase.

Franco co-directed, produced and starred in "Interior. Leather Bar.," a reimagining of the segments cut from William Friedkin's 1980 film "Cruising," so it could earn an R rating. He produced "kink," a documentary about Kink.com, the leading producer of bondage-and-discipline pornography. And he plays Hugh Hefner in "Lovelace," set to premiere Tuesday at Sundance, which tells the story of "Deep Throat" star Linda Lovelace.

It's just a coincidence that all three films are playing at Sundance, he said.

"I wanted to explore real sex on film but in a way that was not pornographic, (but) was really about the behavior: the act as something that would reveal character or story," Franco said of the inspiration for "Interior. Leather Bar."

He didn't know much about BDSM before he discovered the Kink.com facilities while working on another project, but he was instantly fascinated.

"It's a kind of performance that's very specialized," Franco said. "At Kink, what the viewers expect is for (the performers) to really be experiencing the kind of pain that's being inflicted on them. And they don't — both the people that run Kink and the viewers — don't want any faking, so that's a new kind of performance. That's like performance art."