Robert Mapplethorpe was an openly homosexual, 60s era artist whose provocative work was very controversial in its time. So, of course, people have been saying for quite a while now that James Franco should play him in a movie. I mean, that’s kind of Franco’s bag, isn’t it? Johnny Depp puts on stupid wigs in Tim Burton movies and Franco plays historical gay figures from the 60s. It’s what we’ve become comfortable with, and what we will remain comfortable with, because THR is reporting that Franco is now finally attached to play Mapplethorpe in an upcoming film.
The new project, titled simply Mapplethorpe, is set to be directed by Ondi Timoner and is being put into production thanks to the Tribeca Film Institute’s 9th annual Tribeca All Access Program. The program selects ten films to get $15,000 grants and ongoing support that connects the filmmakers with industry professionals. Now that this one has Franco on board, I would imagine additional financial support should be coming in soon.
I haven’t been able to dig up any exact info on what part of the photographer’s life Mapplethorpe will focus on, but from his legendary career, to his association with other famous figures like Andy Warhol, to his death from AIDS in 1989, there should be plenty of dramatic material to choose from. Hopefully Franco is curling up his hair into some sort of ridiculous pompadour to get into the spirit of the role as we speak.