The actor said his health was affected by the fallout from the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, who were targeted thanks to Franco’s film The Interview
James Franco has said that the furore around his comedy The Interview, which prompted a devastating hack on Sony Pictures and threats of terrorism against US cinemas, affected his health.
“There was this pressure. There was so much attention on it — attention on a level you never expected. It was a shock to my system, and I got sick,” he said. “But I was never scared for my safety or anything.”
In The Interview, Franco plays a blowhard talk show host, chaperoned by his producer played by Seth Rogen – the pair are hired by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un after the pair secure an interview with the North Korean leader. The storyline angered a hacking group linked to the country, who leaked a vast amount of data from Sony, and whose terror threats caused the film to be pulled from cinemas. It has since been successful via on-demand services and a small theatrical release in independent cinemas, earning $45m.
Franco added: “It was a situation where there was nothing for me to do to. As soon as they called the press off, and the movie was pulled from theatres, there was nothing to do. They weren’t looking to me to make any decisions. It was just sitting around and staying quiet.”
His comments came in an interview about his new film I Am Michael, directed by Justin Kelly and executive produced by Gus Van Sant, which has premiered at the Sundance film festival. It’s the true story of Michael Glatze, a gay rights campaigner who renounced his sexuality and turned to Christianity. Franco met with Glatze at the premiere, and said that: “I think the movie has helped him release some of these extreme views that basically gays are sinners. And that it’s helped him heal a little bit and maybe showed him that just because he doesn’t want to identify as gay doesn’t mean he has to completely destroy or condemn everything about gay lifestyles.”
Sundance 2015 review: I Am Michael – James Franco’s gay pastor hits the straight and shallow
2 / 5 stars
Sex! Religion! James Franco! Zachary Quinto! So why is this real-life tale of a gay activist who becomes a married minister getting the Sundance flock yawning in the pews?
On a threesome scene between Franco, Zachary Quinto and Charlie Carver, Franco said: “I can’t even remember what happened. I think I was going for it more than they were.”
Reviewing the film for the Guardian at Sundance, Jordan Hoffman wasn’t particularly taken with it: “It feels as if it’s hewing too close to both an agenda and the truth of the story, instead of exploring the emotional and intellectual truths that lie beneath it… [it] is fatally unsure of its own identity.”