James Franco has become a blonde for his new role as an ex-gay for the upcoming movie Michael.
Franco uploaded a picture of himself on Instagram sporting, “that Late 90s bleached look,” and another photo later saying “Let’s Part! Blondes have more fun!! But do you respect me?????”
The blonde hair is for his newest role as Michael Glatze, the founder of the Young Gay America magazine – a prominent leading voice in gay rights. The movie Michael is based off an article from the New York Times Magazine his friend and former colleague Benoit Denizet-Lewis (and former Advocate contributor) wrote in 2011.
Glatze and Denizet-Lewis worked together at the San Franciso-based magazine for young gay men called XY. Glatze went on to start Young Gay America with his boyfriend at the time, Ben.
In 2007, Glatze said he had a spiritual awakening after a health crisis and he was no longer gay.
“Sitting in his Y.G.A. office…Michael wrote three words on his computer screen: I am straight,” Denizet-Lewis wrote in his article. “They felt true, so he typed a few more: Homosexuality = Death. I choose Life.”
When the two met up in 2011, Glatze said he no longer saw people as gay.
“I don’t see you as gay. God creates us heterosexual,” he told his old friend. “We may get other ideas in our head about what we are, and I certainly did, but that doesn’t mean they’re the truth.”
“The Michael I knew at XY, a young man who was fascinated by queer theory — namely the idea that sexual and gender identities are culturally constructed rather than biologically fixed — and who dreamed of a world without labels like ‘straight’ and ‘gay,’ which he deemed restrictive and designed to ‘segment and persecute,’ as he argued in a 1998 issue of XY,”Denizet-Lewis said. “I couldn’t help wondering if Michael’s new philosophy might, in a strange way, be a logical extension of what he believed back then — that ‘gay’ is a limiting category and that sexual identities can change.”
Glatze, 38, is currently a pastor with his wife at a Christian church in Wyoming. He doesn’t accept the label “ex-gay activist,” which he has often been described as with the talk of the new movie.
“I am fascinated by the press, which calls me an ‘ex-gay activist,’ or something along those lines, which I am not,” he told the Christian Post. “In fact, that is really not part of my life at all, at this point. I did speak out, quite vocally, back in 2007 and over the years since then, but God has a way of working in people’s hearts, including mine.”
Director Justin Kelly said the movie isn’t just about an “ex-gay.”
“It’s actually a very relatable story about the power of belief and the desire to belong,” he said.
Zachary Quinto and Chris Zylka will play Glatze’s former lovers in Michael, and Emma Roberts will star as his girlfriend.