James Franco In GQ

I’m not sure how I feel about James Franco in a period drama (and the country didn’t seem to either – it failed to make the top ten). How about James Franco in a sexual thriller? I’d pay to see that.

For his role in the medieval romance “Tristan and Isolde,” that meant horses, knightly garb and swordplay: “my own Medieval Times,” the actor says with a laugh.

“I trained in sword fighting and rode horses every day for eight months,” says Franco, on the phone from L.A. “There’s a little training video that’ll go on the DVD, where you can see all my horse tricks.”

The California-bred actor also spent those eight months honing his English accent and immersing himself in “all the old versions” of the story (which include French and German epic poetry, and a Wagner opera).

The film, out Friday, tells the legend of a pair of ill-fated lovers from the Dark Ages, at a time when England and Ireland are at war. Isolde (Sophia Myles) is an Irish princess who rescues Tristan, a shipwrecked English knight – but things don’t exactly go smoothly, and she ends up in an arranged marriage to his boss, the future King of England (Rufus Sewell).

Henceforth, the tormented Tristan is torn between his love for Isolde and his duty to his country – though he certainly gets in his share of smoldering, stolen moments with the lusty future Queen.

Franco, My Dear [NYP]