James Franco to Play Ex-Gay in New Gus Van Sant Film
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James Franco and director Gus Van Sant go way back. Franco starred opposite Sean Penn in the good Milk and also played a version of Allen Ginsberg in the not-so-good Howl. But hey, you can't win them all right?
Now, according to a PageSix item in the NYPost, the duo are teaming up again for a $3.5 million film being produced by Gus Van Sant that will tell the story of controversial "ex-gay" Michael Glatze who in "renounced" being gay after he had a health scare in 2004 that involved a potential heart defect and turned to fundamentalist Christianity for succor. As Benoit Denizet-Lewis explained in a story in the New York Times in 2011, Glatze helped found the magazine Young Gay America after working at XY. As Denizet-Lewis wrote:
"Michael had seemingly read every gay book ever written. While I was busy trying to secure a boyfriend, he was busy contemplating queer theory, marching in gay rights rallies and urging young people to celebrate (not just accept) their same-sex attractions. Michael was devoted to helping gay youth, and he was particularly affected by the letters the magazine received regularly from teenagers who were rejected by their religious families."
Then in 2007 he changed his tone on everything, writing in a WorldNetDaily article: “Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic." In a second article a week later, he said that he was “repulsed to think about homosexuality” and that he was “going to do what I can to fight it.” Glatze is now nearly 40.
It's unclear whether Van Sant will be using Denizet-Lewis as a consultant on the film or whether this is a contrarian narrative to thumb his nose at the gay establishment as marriage equality and overall acceptance seems to be sweeping the nation. Whatever the case, the film will start shooting in New York in July—we assume some time after Franco is done starring in Broadway opposite Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men.