James Franco is the latest cover boy for Flaunt magazine, and one of the two covers shots features his naked butt. See that NSFW one below. Vulture rightfully asks, “How could it be that this came out two and a half weeks ago and no major site has covered it?” I think it’s partly because nothing James Franco does surprises anyone anymore. But mostly because there’s the feeling that if you’re going to write about his butt being a magazine cover, you should really say something about the heady cover story itself, only you may have no desire to read it.
In short: I genuinely respect that James Franco uses his time learning and creating — it’s so much better than being photographed on daily Starbucks runs — but I don’t always want to hear about what he’s learned or created. Especially when Flaunt sets up the email portion of the interview by saying it “shape-shifted into something almost resembling his art — a journey of dalliances, compass-less and perhaps saying something, perhaps saying nothing at all.” Some people still want to figure Franco out, but I’ll admit what you’re not supposed to, particularly after Franco writes of his varied output, “I don’t think what I’m doing is confusing … What is confusing is that I’m an actor in mainstream film and the people that usually comment on mainstream film are idiots, and they don’t try to think outside of their pop-culture commentaries”: He’s too much work for me. I’d rather use that brainpower elsewhere, somewhere I know that something is being said.
Am I proud of that? No. I want to be one of those people who loves movies with ambiguous endings. But I’m not. I want to form my own opinion of what happened, but I also, at some point, want to know what the filmmakers, the people who lived with this story for years and created the characters, believe happened. Then I can form an opinion on the making of their decision, too. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting answers, as long as you take that last step.
What about you? Are you still interested in the mystery that is James Franco’s mind or just in seeing the end product?