In a candid interview with New York magazine, Franco, 37, criticized what he described as the media's "overfocusing" on his sexuality after he explored gay themes onscreen in "Milk," "I Am Michael” and behind the camera in "Interior. Leather Bar."
Noting that his celebrity status alone created interest in "who I'm having sex with," Franco said, "If your definition of gay and straight is who I sleep with, then I guess you could say I’m a gay cock tease. It’s where my allegiance lies, where my sensibilities lie, how I define myself."
He then cryptically concluded, "Yeah, I’m a little gay, and there’s a gay James."
Franco seemed to be echoing sentiments he shared in a 2015 issue of FourTwoNine magazine that featured an article in which he interviewed himself as “Straight James Franco” talking to “Gay James Franco.”
“I like to think that I’m gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I’m also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I’m straight,” he said. “I am a figure who can show the straight community that many of their definitions are outdated and boring. And I can also show the gay community that many of the things about themselves that they are giving up to join the straight community are actually valuable and beautiful.”
Franco's latest project seems likely to only fuel that speculation further. "King Cobra," which also stars Garrett Clayton, Molly Ringwald and Christian Slater, is based on the 2007 murder of gay adult film impresario Bryan Kocis. Franco's production company, Event Films, is behind the film, which premiered this month at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
True to form, Franco teased fans with a sweaty, shirtless Instagram photo of himself posing with co-star Keegan Allen on the set in October.
As easy as it is dismiss Franco's professed interest in gay themes as another case of Hollywood "queer baiting," "King Cobra" is already generating positive buzz around its Tribeca release. So it's safe to say we'll see him exploring more same-sex love on the big screen in years to come.