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Inspired by the raunchy behind-the-scenes tales from James Dean‘s iconic Rebel Without a Cause, James Franco used some risqué and gender-bending tactics for his most recent art project.
In a feature for Flaunt Magazine, Marc-Edouard Leon gives a first hand account from the set of Franco’s Rebel project. Filmed in the Chateau’s Bungalow 2, the very same place where James Dean, Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood, Dennis Hopper and director Nick Ray engaged in backstage shenanigans, Franco asked his actors to dress in drag as they performed a dramatic reenactment of the controversial stories.
“I played James Dean in a biopic, so I also felt connections to the original film. I’d done research and talked to most of the people that had done Rebel Without a Cause that were still alive. I realized that the stories about the making of were fascinating and that there was an equally compelling drama going on behind-the-scenes,” Franco explained of his desire to do the project. “Over the years, I felt like there was a lot of stuff to mine in that original movie. I didn’t want to dramatize the behind the scenes in a traditional way though.”
Among the booze-fueled highlights of the project are a high-speed nude drive down Sunset Blvd, tons of fake blood, an orgy complete with sex dolls and dildos, and a 5 a.m. swim to wash away the sins.
“I get back to Bungalow 2 a few hours later to interview Franco,” writes Leon. “He is unnervingly chipper. He laughs about the sex scene he orchestrated. ‘Having sex with dolls with plastic dicks is fucking great,’ Franco exalts, ‘because you get to examine that act without the onus of people just looking at it and saying, ‘That’s pornography.’ You can actually think about it for a second and ask yourself what is happening there when you’re doing that for real.’ The whole venture is pretty weird. No matter what anyone says, Franco is producing ideas, turning them into art. James Franco is an artist.”
Read a full account of the evening here, following the mag’s Q&A section.
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