What I really want to share with you is a story that Franco tells about how far he went when going "Method" for the Nicolas Cage-directed Sonny, a movie about a New Orleans male prostitute. For the film, Franco decided to do some research. Deep research:
“There was a strip club on Bourbon Street,” he begins. “I had only ever been to one strip club before I went to New Orleans to do that movie. But I started going to every strip club. There was one they advertise as ‘Live Sex Shows’ and I went in there and met a male stripper who said he was straight and that he serviced men and women. I later found out he didn’t really tell the truth all the time. But I thought he was a good model for my part. And he was the guy I hung out with the most. He would do lap dances for people, and then in between we hung out in the back. So I was with him one night and this other guy came in. And this guy came in and said to my friend, ‘Hey, man, I need you for a job right now—this guy wants two.’ And he said, ‘I’m hanging out with James doing research for this movie.’ And the guy says, ‘You’re doing research? Okay. You want to do real research. You’re going to come down, come to the hotel. This guy’s so out of his mind on coke, he won’t even know what’s going on. You just sit in the corner in the chair, take your shirt off, sit there, you can watch the whole thing.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ ”
Weren’t you a bit worried about what you were getting yourself into?
“Yeah. Heck, yes. But then I thought, ‘Well, this is real research. I’ve got to do this for the role, man, I’ve got to do this.’ But yeah, it was terrifying. Especially when I get there—this guy was a doctor, apparently. He was an older man. And they whip out the cocaine and they start doing cocaine on the desk and I’m like—am I incriminating myself? I mean, I didn’t do any of the cocaine. Okay? I just went there to observe. So that was scary. It was in a nice hotel. The guy who took us over had a key to the room. So he just opened up and the doctor is just lying in the bed. And he wasn’t completely naked when we got in there, but he certainly got naked.”
And so where in the room did you go?
“I was just standing over near the desk. And they all got in the bed and, I mean, he was out of his head. He was so high on cocaine, I guess, or drunk or whatever, and he was saying, like, ‘Oh, my wife and daughters are coming tomorrow, but this is great.’ It was the ﬁrst time I ever saw a cock ring. He put on a cock ring. And then they both kind of like stood over him, and the guy was, like, stroking both of them and he was like, ‘Ah, all these cocks, I love these cocks.’ ” (Later, Franco would tell Cage about all this, and it would become the inspiration for when Cage’s character in the movie, a pimp called Acid Yellow, snorts a line and then declares, “I love coke cock.”)
And did you take your shirt off to, so to speak, be in the vibe?
“Yeah, I guess I had my shirt off.”Did I just really fucking read that?! A shirtless James Franco watched guys have a threesome?! I love this world.
Read the whole interview here.