Trailer Watch: James Franco & Travis Matthews’ Interior. Leather Bar

One of the more fascinating projects in the Sundance New Frontiers section this year is Interior. Leather Bar, by writer/director/actor James Franco and director Travis Matthews. Here’s the synopsis:

In order to avoid an X rating, 40 minutes of gay S&M footage was rumored to be cut and destroyed from the 1980 film, Cruising. Inspired by the mythology of this controversial film, filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews collaborate to imagine their own lost footage.

Amid the backdrop of a frenzied film set, actor Val Lauren reluctantly agrees to take the lead in the film. Val is repeatedly forced to negotiate his boundaries during scenes on and “off camera,” as unsimulated gay sex happens around him. The film itself is constructed as a play with boundaries remaining queer in subject and form. As much a film about filmmaking as it is about an exploration of sexual and creative freedom, “Interior. Leather Bar.” defies easy categorization.

From Matthews’ artist statement:

We took the mythology of a still controversial film, Cruising (1980), and the rumored-to-be-lost 40 minutes from the original cut of that film, as an opening for this exploration. But our film is neither a remake nor a dedicated 40 minutes of re-imagined lost footage. It’s so much more about our process of constructing this film and the mercurial ways in which the film plays with expectations and form. Is it real or is it fake, is it art or is it porn, and where exactly does one bleed into the other?

Check out the trailer above, and visit the film’s website for more, including statements from Franco and Matthews