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Chris Colfer reacts to Emmy nod and says of his impending “Glee” departure: “It was bound to happen sooner or later.” Weekly chatted with Chris Colfer this morning after he received word that he has once again been nominated for an Emmy.

“There were rumors that I might get nominated again, but I was thinking I wouldn’t,” he said. ”It was a surprise. I think there is so much anxiety that comes with awards show and nominations and I was focusing on all the bad. The category is so so tough, so selective, that I didn’t think I get another nomination.”

Chris also commented for the first time on the just-reported news that he will not be a regular on the series beyond its upcoming third season.

“It was bound to happen sooner or later,” Colfer said. ” I would love to pull a Farrah Fawcett from Charlie’s Angels and come back every 10th episode. I’d be the obnoxious recurring star!”

Farrah was only a series regular on season one of that classic 70s show but returned for a total of six episodes during seasons three and four.

FILE UNDER: Awards, Glee

Emmys: “Becoming Chaz” up for outstanding non-fiction special and Kathy Griffin nominated again for “D List” Chaz, the documentary that chronicles the transition from female to male of the only child of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, earned an Emmy nomination this morning for outstanding nonfiction special.

The documentary premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, screened over the weekend at Outfest and has been airing on OWN. It is a film by Outfest 2011 Lifetime Achievement honorees Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato and subject Chaz Bono is also nominated as a producer.

Becoming Chaz will compete against Jaws: The Inside Story, His Way, Stand Up to Cancer and Gettysburg., two-time Emmy winner Kathy Griffin is once again a nominee for the sixth and final season of her reality series Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List. You root for her to win just to hear what she’ll say in the acceptance speech! But she’ll have to beat Antiques Roadshow, Hoarders, Mythbusters, Undercover Boss, and Deadliest Catch.

Also, three gay faves compete in the outstanding variety, music or comedy special category: Bette Midler is up for The Showgirl Must Go On, Carrie Fisher for Wishful Drinking and Lady Gaga for The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden. Rounding out the category are The Kennedy Center Honors and The Pee Wee Herman Show on Broadway.


Emmy Awards: Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nathan Lane and Alan Cumming among the out nominees

Jane Lynch will not only be hosting the Emmy Awards in September, she will also be vying for her second consecutive trophy for her portrayal of Sue Sylvester on Glee.

The out actress, who is celebrating her 51st birthday today, was among the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards nominees unveiled this morning. She competes with Modern Family cast members Julie Bowen and Sonia Vergara as well as Kristen Wiig for Saturday Night Live, Jane Krakowski for 30 Rock and television legend Betty White for Hot in Cleveland.

As expected, Glee and Modern Family will once again square off in the outstanding comedy series category with Glee hoping to avenge last year’s loss. They will also compete with CBS’s The Big Bang Theory and a trio of NBC Thursday night comedies: 30 Rock, The Office and Parks & Recreation.

The actors who play Modern Family’s gay couple were both nominated for supporting actor in a comedy: out actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and last year’s winner Eric Stonestreet. [Nathan Lane, the openly gay actor who played the couple's friend Pepper in a pair of episodes, was nominated in the guest actor category.] Out actor Chris Colfer, who plays gay high school student Kurt on Glee, earned his second nod for supporting actor. Rounding out the category are are 2009 winner Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men and Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill and Ty Burrell.

Surprisingly, Neil Patrick Harris was snubbed in the best supporting actor category after four consecutive nominations for How I Met Your Mother and a win at last month’s Critics Choice Awards. He has yet to win for his portrayal of Barney Stinson but did take home a pair of Emmys last year for hosting the 2009 Tony Awards and for his guest appearance on Glee.

Out star Alan Cumming earned a supporting actor in a drama series category for his performance as Eli Gold in The Good Wife. His competition includes fellow castmate Josh Charles, John Slattery of Mad Men, Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones, Walter Goggins for Justified and Andre Braugher for Men of a Certain Age.

For a full list of nominees, here is a LINK to the TV Academy’s official website.


Happy 51st Birthday to Jane Lynch!’s got to be pretty great being Jane Lynch these days.

She’s about to start the third season of Glee in her Emmy winning role of Sue Sylvester, will be hosting the Emmy Awards in September – and will probably receive another nod when nominations are announced this morning – and is also filming a role in the upcoming Three Stooges feature film and working on her memoir, Happy Accidents, to be released Fall 2011.

And on top of all of that, she’s into her second year of marriage to Dr. Lara Embry!

Looks like this mega-talented actress, who has been turning in first-rate performances in movies (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Best In Show), television (Party Down, The L Word) and on stage (The Real Live Brady Bunch) for decades, has a lot to celebrate on her 51st birthday today!

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Outfest 2011: Don’t miss the outstanding “With You” which recounts life of gay 9/11 hero Mark Bingham


Watched a DVD screener of the documentary With You the other night about the life of 9/11 hero Mark Bingham. With the 1oth anniversary of that terrible day coming up, this is a timely tribute to a man who was among the heroes on United Flight 93. I heartily recommend you catch tonight’s screening of the film at Outfest. [Ticket info HERE].

It is such a wonderful thing that so much video exists of Bingham from throughout what looks to have been a very full and happy life. We see him in younger years then on the rugby field, in college, on trips abroad and through the eyes of his dynamic mother, Alice Hoagland, who is really something special. You will wish you had her in your life!

My friend Karen Ocamb has posted an in-depth interview with Alice on her blog LGBT POV. Here are a few highlights:

“For me watching that film was the very first time seeing many scenes in my son’s life,” she said of With You. “It was really wonderful in that respect.”

Hoagland also candidly conceded – as she does in the film – that it was difficult for her to accept Mark’s homosexuality when he first came out:

“When my son first told me, my subconscious mind just rejected it. I acknowledged and believed it on an intellectual level but it took me a while to really come to grips with it and accept it. And when I did, in a matter of months, I guess, I became grateful then that Mark had enough confidence in me and love for me and thought enough of me that he wanted me to be one of the first people in his life to know something very fundamental and true about himself. Even though he knew that my attitudes towards gays was vague and not accurate. I would say that I was vaguely antigay –imbued with stereotypes. I’ve had to fight through that. I am one of those lucky human beings that has done an about face and rejected a lie and embraced the truth. But I wish I had had the courage and goodness of heart to do that on my own.

But it took my son to do that for me by acknowledging, by telling me – challenging my stereotypes and telling me, “Mom, I’m gay.” Because of him, I have gone on a different journey in my life. And with all the important things in my life – and all the accomplishments that I have – most of them have been because I had a little boy who grew up to be a man who set me on an important life’s quest.”

Here is a LINK to the rest of Karen’s interview and below is the film’s trailer:


Ryan Murphy says Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith will depart “Glee” after season 3 seems that no character – no matter how popular – is safe on Glee.

Creator Ryan Murphy tells The Hollywood Reporter that after this season, he plans to write Lea Michelle (Rachel), Chris Colfer (Kurt) and Cory Monteith (Finn) out of the show because their characters will be graduating from high school.

“You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year,” Murphy said.

He added that who’s graduating and who’s staying will be revealed in the Sept. 20 season premiere:“We’ve never done anything by the book. We made that decision and I involved Chris and Lea and they thought that was a good idea. They both trust the writing and trust me and felt that it would be great to have an open and closed experience for them to go out while they were on top.”

What do you think Glee fans? Is it a good idea to start phasing core characters out or would you rather see these performers playing high school students well into their 20s and early 30s?


Thursday Morning Man: Chris New!

I’ll be writing more about the outstanding drama Weekend later today. It screened last night at Outfest and was clearly much appreciated by the sellout crowd.

One of the stars of Weekend is a hugely talented actor named Chris New who makes his feature film debut in the movie. I was so impressed with him that I change-up my planned Morning Man line-up and moved this 30-year-old from Great Britain to the front of the list!

According to his IMDB profile, Chris trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and, after graduating in 2006, built up an impressive reputation for his stage and small screen work. He starred opposite Alan Cumming in the 2006 revival of Bent in London’s West End. He then went on to work at the National Theatre, under the direction of Sir Richard Eyre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Young Vic, The Royal Exchange and London’s Sadler’s Wells.

In 2009 he returned to the West End to star as Joe Orton in the stage adaptation of Prick Up Your Ears, and last year, Chris made his New York stage debut leading the company of Peter Nichols’ LIngua Franca which transferred to New York from London’s Finborough Theatre. He has also worked regularly for the BBC in numerous television and Radio Productions.

Chris New as Joe Orton

Repressed yearning: there was not enough of a sexual frisson between Viola (Chris New) and Orsino (Jason Merrells)

FILE UNDER: Morning Men

Trevor Donovan films beach scenes for one of handful of episodes he’ll appear in new season of “90210″

Trevor Donovan 90210 shirtless beach blue shorts

When it returns for its fourth season this fall, 90210 will have all kinds of straight characters. But the character of Teddy, who came out as gay over the course of last season, will only be around for five episodes.

Actor Trevor Donovan deserves major credit for making the most of the storyline which never got equal time to the others. It still managed to show Teddy accepting himself, getting involved with Ian, coming out to his friends at school, having a fling on spring break and dancing at the prom with new boyfriend Marco.

Donovan not only shined on screen, he also gave man thoughtful interviews about playing a gay character and emerges from the show a promising new star.

Not sure how Teddy will be written out of the show but I think we should enjoy him while we can! Here are some shots of Donovan shooting some beach volleyball scenes. To see dozens more, go to Socialite Life.

Trevor Donovan 90210 shirtless beach blue shorts

Trevor Donovan 90210 shirtless beach blue shorts

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Lunch Break Video: Betty Ford, laid to rest this week, made memorable cameo on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”


When it comes to remarkable people in public life, Betty Ford was pretty much up there near the top of the list.

She was candid about the troubles in her life – including alcoholism and breast cancer – and about issues important to her.

In tribute to this great woman, here is her memorable guest appearance on The Mary Tyler Moore Show made while her husband was in office. Mary and Lou Grant (Ed Asner) are in Washington DC and Mary does not believe it is the First Lady on the other end of the telephone.


Happy Birthday to Robert Gant! bumped into Robert Gant on Sunday at, of all places, the El Pollo Loco at Sunset and Crescent Heights.
I was on a break between Outfest films and assumed he was also attending the festival where his movie, Save Me, screened a few years back. But he was just grabbing a quick bite, unaware of all the Outfest activity going on just a block away!
Hey, the Queer as Folk alum is a mighty busy guy.
He recently did guest spots on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, CBS’s Mike and Molly, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, FOX’s Bones and ABC’s Castle.
Hopefully Robert will find time to celebrate his 42nd birthday today!
FILE UNDER: Birthdays

Straight allies Michael Irvin and Ben Cohen each have their own covers of OUT magazine sports issue

. Click to move to next slide.

NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin and retired rugby icon Ben Cohen – now an anti-bullying activist – are ideal selections for the cover of OUT’s magazine’s new ‘straight ally’ sports issue.

Irvin, whose brother is gay, talks about LGBT equality: “I don’t see how any African-American with any inkling of history can say that you don’t have the right to live your life how you want to live your life. When we start talking about equality and everybody being treated equally, I don’t want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn’t deserve equality.”

We are all well aware that no athlete in one of the major team sports has ever come out publicly during their playing days. Irvin offers words of support for anyone who finally does: “If anyone comes out in those top four major sports, I will absolutely support him. I think growth comes when we share. Until we do that, we’re going to be stuck in the Dark Ages about a lot of things. When a guy steps up and says, ‘This is who I am,’ I guarantee you I’ll give him 100% support.”



Wednesday Morning Man: Noah Schuffman!, yesterday I featured one of the leads from the new romantic comedy eCupid and today I present to you the other one: Noah Schuffman.

The gay romantic comedy, which screened earlier this week at Outfest, has Noah as Gabe, a young man struggling with his restaurant and with his boyfriend.

. “I am hoping that the film can start a dialogue about love and relationship,” Schuffman said in an interview last month with the Columbia Daily Tribune. “I am so proud to be in this movie because it shows a relationship, … not a gay relationship, not a straight relationship, just a relationship. … I hope that this film, in a small way, can show that we all are searching for the same thing and that there is no reason to look at one relationship any differently than another.”

Noah had a role in the 2007 series Coastal Dreams and has since done many guest spots on various television shows including Grey’s Anatomy, House M.D., and Desperate Housewives and had a role in the TV movie Married Not Dead.

The handsome actor is originally from Columbia, Missouri where he graduated from the University of Missouri with a BS in Marketing and a minor in Theater.

Below is video of Noah talking about eCupid:

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2011)

Outfest 2011: Romantic comedy “eCupid” is a big hit with crowd that included Alan Cumming and Dustin Lance Black

It was nearly a full house Monday night at the DGA Theatre for the screening of the very appealing romantic comedy eCupid from filmmaker J.C. Calciano who was at the festival just last year with Is It Just Me?
“Showing your movie in an incredible venue like this is always a dream for a filmmaker,” Calciano (pictured above with three cast members) told the crowd which included Tony winner Alan Cumming of television’s The Good Wife and Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk).
The film tells the story of Marshall (a terrific Houston Rhines), a guy on the verge of turning 30 who is working at a dead-end job at an ad agency and is feeling stagnant in his relationship with Gabe (Noah Shuffman),  his boyfriend of seven years.
He downloads a mysterious dating app called “eCupid” that guarantees to find true love. It turns his life upside down. Marshall soon finds that all the attention is more than he bargained for.
The film has a few familiar faces including former soap star John Callahan (Edmund on All My Children) as Marshall’s obnoxious boss and the ageless Morgan Fairchild as an angelic waitress who is a real cupid in a way. Also look for The Real World: DC alum Mike Manning (flashing his abs, below) who nicely nails his small role.
But the film is carried by its attractive cast of new discoveries. Rhines is the real star here as his character bumbles his way through some major turns in his life. He’s funny, sexy, touching and maddening through the journey. Schuffman carries the more emotional material and conveys Gabe’s heartbreak and anger well.
Quite delicious in the film is Matthew Scott Lewis (pictured with me below) who plays Marshall’s scheming new co-worker Keith in the film. Keith would be irresistible to most guys with his good looks and charm and Marshall does at times gets swept up in his antics. But his heart belongs to Gabe.
Writer-director Calciano told us after the screening was shot in just 12 days on a production budget of just $75,000. This is astonishing considering the production values and the quality of the performances. Since hand-held devices are a critical player in the movie, Calciano confessed that many times it is his hand holding them and not the character’s! He did all those pick-up shots in a single day. That’s how you do a movie in 12 days.
It helped to have two main leads with easy chemistry.
“We became fast friends,” Schuffman said of he and Rhines. “When you are dealing with an intimate story, you get to know each other really well, really quickly.”
Added Rhines: “I was fortunate to have someone I had instant chemistry with.”
Here is a LINK to the movie’s website.


“The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island” creator Sherwood Schwartz has died at the age of 94 critics may not have been kind to The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island but they are classic sitcoms that have lived on and on.
The man who created those shows – and their classic theme songs – was Sherwood Schwartz who died today at the age of 94.
How wonderful that he lived so long and saw how beloved those shows became.
In December 2008, I attended the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame dinner where Mr. Schwartz was inducted along with Bea Arthur and Merv Griffin.
I remember Florence Henderson inducting Schwartz at the ceremony with not only kind words, but singing The Brady Bunch theme song with special lyrics that she wrote for the occasion. She also pointed out that both of his classic sitcoms had at their core about “a man who tried to express in his own way that people need to learn to live together.”

Schwartz, who was still amazingly sharp at the age of 92, said in his speech: “I understand I’m the oldest person ever to be inducted. …Oh, to be 91 again.”

I chatted with him prior to the ceremony about the honor: “It’s very exciting actually because this is like the creme de la creme. I don’t know where you can go from here!”

Rest in peace Sherwood, and thanks so much for the memories.

Here is a LINK to the Gilligan’s Island theme song (can’t find a link to embed) and also can’t find a version that includes “The Professor and Mary Ann.” They were originally relegated to “…and the rest.”

FILE UNDER: Television

Lunch Break Videos: A tribute to “Charlie’s Angels” star Cheryl Ladd on her 60th birthday!, there’s a reboot of Charlie’s Angels coming to television this fall and I may check it out but boy, does it have a tough act to follow.

One of the reasons the original show, which aired on ABC from 1976-81, became so iconic was Cheryl Ladd who played Kris Munroe from the second season on. Miss Ladd, of course, replaced Farrah Fawcett who was one of the original stars alongside Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.

The continued success of the show hinged on her being able to fill Fawcett’s shoes and connect with the public. Ratings for seasons two and three soared and did not drop off until season four when Jackson left and was replaced by Shelly Hack.

Fawcett and Ladd did work together for a total of six episodes during seasons three and four when Farrah made guest appearances as part of a legal settlement with producers. Since their characters were sisters, the two had many of their scenes together which added richly to the Angels legacy.

In celebration of Miss Ladd’s 60th birthday, here are some videos that showcase her talent and beauty and her enduring friendship with Jaclyn Smith.

Happy 36th Birthday to Cheyenne Jackson!

BIRTHDAY SUIT: Well, these photos are the closest I could find of Cheyenne Jackson in his birthday suit anyway. The talented star of Broadway (Xanadu), television (30 Rock) and film (The Green) turns 36 today. The handsome and out star appears to be really hitting his stride and we wish him the very best!

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

James Franco on gay roles, gay rumors, I posted the portion of James Franco’s candid interview with Playboy that covered his experience hosting this year’s Academy Awards.

The following section of the same interview is about his gay roles and those gay rumors:

PLAYBOY: Asking a movie heartthrob to wear drag on the Oscars could be seen as something done for cheap laughs. But you’ve never shied away from playing gay or bisexual characters, in James Dean, Milk, Howl. Speculation about your sexuality has followed you for a long time. How did that start?

FRANCO: I had a close friend in school, and there were rumors that we were gay. Those rumors were started by—who knows?—people who were jealous, ­people who had been picked on, girls who had been picked on. So they started these rumors. I like it now that people said I was gay. It’s kind of cool.

PLAYBOY: What was it like for you in 2008 when Page Six of the New York Post ran a blind item about a hunky closeted gay actor who got nicknamed the Gay ­Rapist? You were among the actors most often guessed by Gawker readers.

FRANCO: That was the first time I experienced anything like that. It started when we got this call from two rag magazines that said, “This guy called and said he’s been dating James Franco for six months and just broke up with him because James beat him up, and he’s filed a police report.” My lawyer said, “Run that and we will sue because there has been no police report filed.” They didn’t run the stories. My lawyer looked up the Facebook page of the guy I’d supposedly been dating, and it turned out he’s actually a young lawyer himself. Anyway, I think his Facebook page mentioned me as his “dream date” or something. Well, if I’d been dating him for six months, why was I his dream date?

PLAYBOY: Did you know this guy?

FRANCO: No. When my lawyer called and asked about it , the guy freaked out and said, “Oh yeah, I heard about that too. So weird. I don’t know James.” It stopped the story. Then Gawker picked that up and did this “Gay Rapist” story that was so fucking offensive because I have friends who have been raped. They did a very classy online reader’s poll asking which actor who had a big movie out that summer had beaten up and raped his boyfriend and then paid him off so it wouldn’t go to court. The poll had me, Will Smith, Christian Bale and maybe Tom Cruise or some others, and the readers voted for me. Because it was just an innocent poll, they could report this.

PLAYBOY: Could you and your attorneys do anything?

FRANCO: My lawyer called them and said that it was completely untrue and to take it down. They said, “Well, we’re just reporting what the New York Post told us. If James wants to make a comment on our blog, we’re happy to report it.” It was a choice. Either let this thing build and become bigger and bigger, or just let it go and let them be the petty scumbags that they are. It was a shame that at the same time I became involved in this completely false and offensive story, I was in Milk, a movie I felt strongly about. Some more great rumors will be coming up.

PLAYBOY: What do you mean?

FRANCO: I have a film coming up that I directed about the poet Hart Crane, and I give a blow job in that movie. After playing movie icon James Dean, a male prostitute in the 2002 movie Sonny, Harvey Milk’s activist lover in Milk, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Howl—let alone the exploration of masculinity in your book Palo Alto and the homoerotic imagery in your short movie The Feast of Stephen—is it fair to say you have a fascination with gay or bisexual characters?

FRANCO: “Straight” and “gay” are fairly recent phenomena. One of the things the great book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay World, 1890–1940 is about is the way those labels have changed behavior. Between World War I and World War II, straight guys could have sex with other guys and still be perceived as straight as long as they acted masculine. Whether you were considered a “fairy” or a “queer” back then wasn’t based on sexual acts so much as outward behavior. Into the 1950s, 1960s and so on, the straight and gay thing came up based on your sexual partner. Because of those labels, you do it once and you’re gay, so you get fewer guys who are kind of in the middle zone. It sounds as though I’m advocating for an ambiguous zone or something, but I’m just interested in the way perception changes behavior.

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Liza Minnelli is made an officer in France’s Legion of Honour and says it’s a “dream come true”

 Liza Minnelli poses after being awarded Officier dans l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur

When you already have an Oscar, a special Grammy and several Emmys and Tonys, what other honors are there for an iconic entertainer like Liza Minnelli?

How about being made an officer in France’s prestigious Legion of Honour!

On Monday, a visibly moved Liza received the red-ribboned medal from the French Culture Minister, Frederic Mitterrand, at a ceremony in Paris.

“We love you because you make our lives better,” Mitterrand told the great star.”A glance in your eyes is enough to make one imagine Broadway in golden letters sparkling in your eyes, your beautiful eyes.”

Liza, the star of such films as Cabaret, The Sterile Cuckoo and New York, New York, said: “What I am really, really so honoured about, is to be a part of France, to be a part of the city and the country of my dreams. Thank you for watching me, thank you for caring about me.”

Hollywood royalty Liza is the daughter of Judy Garland and of Vincente Minnelli was directed the classic film An American in Paris.

FILE UNDER: Awards, Icons

Tuesday Morning Man: Houston Rhines! night at Outfest, the romantic comedy eCupid and this handsome actor, Houston Rhines, was one of the very appealing leads.

I’ll have a post about the movie later today but first want to shine a spotlight on Houston who is as talented as he is good looking and my hunch is he’s on the verge of a very big career. He’s a 31-year-old who has done plenty of modeling and landed guest spots on How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs, Criminal Minds and Castle.

Houston mentioned the Castle guest spot to me after I told him after the screening that he reminds me of Nathan Fillion who stars in that ABC hit. He gets that a lot!

FILE UNDER: Morning Men (2011)

James Franco talks to Playboy about Oscar debacle – including dropped comedy bit that would have featured Cher!

There are not a lot of people who can successfully host a major awards show. Neil Patrick Harris is a genius at it and Jimmy Fallon, Hugh Jackman and Sean Hayes have also been big hits in recent years.

But the pairing of James Franco and Anne Hathaway to host this year’s Oscars was, at times, painful to watch. While Hathaway gamely got through the night with smiles, enthusiasm and endless dress changes, Franco just seemed disinterested after a certain point.

In a new interview with Playboy, he talks about the experience and much more. Here is a portion of the interview: Some might question how seriously you took co-hosting the Oscars show with Anne Hathaway.

FRANCO: When they asked me to do it, I laughed and said, “How am I going to get out of this?” I had one of the best acting experiences working with [director] Danny Boyle on 127 Hours, and we made something great. The studio was making a push for my best actor nomination, and people had been talking about it. At the time I thought no one had won an Oscar the year they hosted the show—I learned later that David Niven had, about 50 years ago—and I thought my hosting the show would cut down my chances, take some of the pressure off and say to people, or at least to myself, “You’re not going to worry about this.” I had done a bit for the Oscars before with Seth Rogen that was a big hit. I felt confident I could do it. I mean, what are the host’s responsibilities? You have an opening monologue, maybe a bit or two in the middle of the show, and then the rest is just reading names. They knew I could rehearse only on weekends because of school, but how much do you have to rehearse? They told me they knew I wasn’t Chris Rock and that they had designed the show around me.

PLAYBOY: How did it go so wrong?

FRANCO: It’s hard to talk about because it’s like assigning blame—not a fun thing to do. For three or four weeks we shot the promos and the little film that played in the opening. In the last week, when we really started focusing on the script for the live show and did a run-through, I said to the producer, “I don’t know why you hired me, because you haven’t given me anything. I just don’t think this stuff’s going to be good.”

PLAYBOY: Many knocked you for appearing blasé, bored, out of it, having little chemistry with Anne Hathaway.

FRANCO: After the show everybody was so happy, and Bruce Cohen, the show’s producer, hugged me and said, “Steven Spielberg just told me it was the best Oscars ever!” As far as having low energy or seeming as though I wasn’t into it or was too cool for it, I thought, Okay, Anne is going the enthusiastic route. I’ve been trained as an actor to respond to circumstances, to the people I’m working with, and not to force anything. So I thought I would be the straight man and she could be the other, and that’s how I was trying to do those lines. I felt kind of trapped in that material. I felt, This is not my boat. I’m just a passenger, but I’m going down and there’s no way out.

PLAYBOY: Why did you tweet during the show?

FRANCO: As a way to say, “Whatever you’re seeing and hearing, those are other people’s words. I’m lifting the curtain and you can see a little bit of what’s going on.” It was cutting-edge. No host has ever done that—given you that kind of alternative glimpse. I was trying to do the best job I could. I didn’t try to sabotage the show. I didn’t get high. I went to the rehearsals I said I was going to. I played the lines as I thought they should be played.

PLAYBOY: Bruce Vilanch was presumably one of many writers for the Oscars show who thought having you don Marilyn Monroe drag was a good idea.

FRANCO: I was so pissed about that I was deliberately going to fall onstage and hopefully my dress would fall off or something—they couldn’t blame that on me; I was in high heels. The plan had been that I was going to sing as Cher and then Cher was going to come out onstage; that got axed when Cher and the song from Burlesque weren’t nominated. I told them, “Look, this is the thing people are going to talk about, the images they will take away from the show.” I mean, think about it—Anne Hathaway sang a song about Hugh ­Jackman, who not only wasn’t nominated, I don’t think he even had a movie out last year. So whatever. I just didn’t want to fight anymore, even when they said, “You’ll come out as Marilyn Monroe. It’ll be funny.” Me in drag is not funny. Me in drag as Cher trying to sing like her is a thing. That didn’t happen, so then I just didn’t want to argue anymore. I was going with their program; I wanted to do the material they gave me, not be one of the many cooks doing the writing. There were a lot of cooks who shouldn’t have been cooking but were allowed to. There were some cooks my manager tried to bring in, like Judd Apatow, who wrote some very funny stuff that wasn’t used.

TOMORROW: More from the Playboy interview focusing on speculation about Franco’s sexuality.