Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
The Australian Classification Board is unmoved by James Franco’s YouTube plea to reverse the ban on I Want Your Love, the gay-themed drama written and directed by his friend and collaborator Travis Mathews. Last month the board nixed the film from appearing at several fests including Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival and the Melbourne and Brisbane Queer Film Festivals. Festival films usually are exempt from classification but the board’s director Lesley O’Brien tells Deadline the film did not meet the board’s fest guidelines because, had it been classified, it would have been tagged X 18+ (Restricted) due to the “prolonged scenes of actual explicit sexual activity.” As the film wasn’t classified, the fests cannot lodge an appeal to the Review Board. O’Brien said the film could still be submitted for classification but the clear implication is that it would be rejected unless the explicit scenes were cut. Franco did get support from Greek/Australian author Christos Tsiolkas who accused board members of taking “homophobic and anti-sex positions”. Tsiolkas wrote The Slap, which Universal Television and Matchbox Pictures are developing as a miniseries for NBC, and Dead Europe.
Oz The Great And Powerful star James Franco took to YouTube in support of his Interior. Leather Bar co-director Travis Mathews, whose drama I Want Your Love was banned last month from screening at multiple Australian film festivals by the Australian Classification Board. The unrated pic, about a gay man spending his last night in San Francisco before he moves back home to the Midwest, features a six-minute scene involving unsimulated sex between two actors. “This is such a disappointment to me and seems really silly”, said Franco, who tapped Mathews to collaborate on the Sundance entry Interior. Leather Bar after seeing I Want Your Love. “He was using sex in a very sophisticated way… [and] to keep it from films that want to explore it as human behavior is very shortsighted and I think very hypocritical. I don’t think we’d be having this conversation if he’d made a very violent film”. The film screened stateside at Frameline36, Outfest, and at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival. Disney releases Oz The Great And Powerful on March 8. Watch Franco’s video here:
Iran Dismisses ‘Argo’ As “Anti-Iran”, Pro-CIA Iran’s culture minister blasted Argo, a day after it won the Best Picture Oscar, calling it anti-Iranian and weak artistically. Iran’s state TV also called the movie “an advertisement for the CIA.” “This anti-Iran film lacks any artistic aspects and it is a very weak film from an artistic perspective and we don’t expect anything else from the enemy,” Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini said, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency and reported by Reuters. Mehr called the Oscar “politically motivated” because first lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson via video link from Washington to help present the best picture award. Argo has not screened in any Iranian theaters but the movie has been widely available on bootleg DVDs in the black market in Tehran. The Iran hostage drama also won best film editing and best adapted screenplay.Read More »