Back in 1980, William Friedkin’s Cruising became the biggest mainstream film since The Boys in the Band to be set almost entirely in the gay community. A punishingly physical and creepy story about a straight cop (Al Pacino) who goes undercover in the New York leather-bar scene to track a serial killer, it was controversial at the time for its supposed homophobia. So when James Franco decided to co-direct an art project/movie that “reimagined” the infamous 40 minutes of possibly pornographic footage Friedkin cut to avoid an X rating, eyebrows were bound to be raised.
Interior. Leather Bar. has been doing the festival buzz circuit and is playing now in limited release. My review is at Film Racket:
Interior. Leather Bar. is less what it claims to be than an inside-out investigation of the “Franco’s doing a gay-porn movie” buzz that surrounded the project, and the process of filming itself. It follows a scattered-seeming Franco and his more on-point co-director Travis Mathews putting their project together while their star Val Lauren (as the Al Pacino character) tries to suss out exactly what the filmmakers are up to. During one of the film’s several scenes of discussion about what they’re making, Lauren tries to make his nervousness clear to Franco, noting that Pacino at least had a script to work with…
The trailer is here: