SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2013
By Don Simpson | January 22, 2013
Directors: James Franco, Travis Mathews
Writers: James Franco, Travis Mathews
Starring: Val Lauren, James Franco, Christian Patrick, Travis Mathews, Brenden Gregory, Michael Lannan, Matthew McKelligon, Joel Michaely, Chervine Namani, Adrian Pena
When James Franco and Travis Mathews first announced that they were going to attempt to recreate the 40 minutes of footage in William Friedkin’s Cruising that was deemed inappropriate by the censors of the day, everyone was skeptical. Such a project could easily tank Franco’s career just like I’m Still Here was almost Joaquin Phoenix’s demise. Sure, Franco’s apparent crusade to expose United States audiences to different shades of sexuality is quite commendable, but there could also be a enormous backlash. Val Lauren — Franco’s choice to reenact the Al Pacino role — was adamantly opposed to Franco’s plan, but he opted to play along with Franco nonetheless; because, if anything, Franco had a lot more to lose.
Interior. Leather Bar. begins with the initial discussions about the project — or maybe it is a scripted recreation of those discussions. The discussions continue and continue and continue… Occasionally we are treated to a few minutes of footage from the production. We are shown some randy content, but nothing too crazy. As it turns out, Interior. Leather Bar. is about the moral issues faced during the making of the film not the resulting re-creation. Clocking in at a mere 60 minutes, there is nothing simple about this film; it rapidly becomes as meta as a post modern treatise in its layering and blurring of presumed realities and re-creations.