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James Franco has more going for him than his status as one of Hollywood's leading heartthrobs. He's currently enrolled at two of the country's most prestigious graduate schools -- NYU and Columbia -- where he's getting his MFAs in filmmaking and creative writing. The actor recently combined his two artistic loves when he wrote and directed his first student film, The Feast of Stephen, which screened at CineVegaas 2009. An adaptation of the poem of the same name by queer poet Anthony Hecht, the movie finds Franco, once again, tackling queer subject matter.
The short film stars Remy Germinario, in his screen debut, as Stephen, a teenager watching a pick-up basketball game in New York City. According to Movieline.com,
"The only score Stephen is keeping is the number of shirtless hunks
dribbling, sweating and writhing on the court. One mop-topped stud in
particular has all the moves, nudging Stephen's daydream into the more
erotic realm of naked boys playing hoops -- in slow-motion, natch, and
suddenly transported to a wooded glen where society's referees won't
blow a whistle on their hard fouls."
From there, Stephen finds himself in a park where the basketball players are engaged in pummeling him and he meets "the sustained brutality of fists, elbows, knees and blood." Franco pulls this off "with chests,
thighs and asses pressed tight in various permutations, infusing the
violence with the poem's more visceral sense of ecstasy." The film ends with Stephen's face smeared with feces and Movieline.com claims "however demeaning and/or gang-rapey it might be ... the literally
shit-eating grin he shares with the audience at the end suggests that
even the most horrendous intimacy is better than none at all." Having done Milk, this film, and gearing up to star as queer poet Allan Ginsberg in the near future, if we didn't know better we'd say Franco is trying to tell us something.
Previously > James Franco wades even deeper into the gay end