James Franco: We tried not to ‘vilify’ ex-gay activist Michael Glatze on film
James Franco has spoken of the ex-gay activist he portrays in the film ‘Michael’, saying those behind the film tried not to “vilify” him.
The film ‘I am Michael’ will portray the life of Michael Glatze, who as a young man edited Young Gay America magazine, before in later life renouncing homosexuality and marrying a woman.
James Franco set to star in the lead role, and Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto, who came out as gay in 2011, has signed on to the film to play Glatze’s ex-boyfriend, while Emma Roberts will star as his female ‘love’ interest. The independent film is directed and co-written by Justin Kelly and produced by Gus Van Sant.
He has now said Glatze had one condition for the film being made
“As long as we were going to tell the story in a very evenhanded way,” Franco said.
“From the beginning, it was definitely the intention that we present the facts of his life rather than trying to vilify him.”
Glatze now lives in Wyoming with his wife and is a pastor.
Franco met him at the premier of the film at the Sundance Film Festival.
At the time, he said: “I haven’t had that many conversations with him,” admitted James at the film’s debut at the Sundance Film Festival.
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“I met him in person for the first time here at the festival. He made a point to come up to me and thank me, and he said he loved the movie. I think it was very healing for him.”
He also addressed balancing the wishes of Glatze, with the film’s attempts to give a rounded portrayal of real events.
“We did have Michael’s permission and his relationship to this material is different than any of the real life people I have portrayed. Where we start in Michael’s life in the movie, is far from where he is right now,”he went on.
“So in a way, we had to show to him we were going to have a very even-handed, non-judgemental approach, but we also had to say to ourselves, ‘We’re not telling this story just to make Michael happy, we’re telling the story to get both sides’. The best we could do was say to him was, ‘We have good intentions. We’re not going to crucify or judge you but we also need to tell the story from the other side as well as the side you’re on now’.”