I don’t know a whole lot about Allen Ginsberg, other than the fact that he was a hero of the Beatnik movement in San Francisco in the 1950s and that his principal work, “Howl”, was banned in 1956 for obscenity. And out of respect for Ginsberg, whose fame goes deeper than my knowledge of him, and in the interest of full disclosure, that’s all I know about the man. However, that might be about to change, as documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman will be writing, producing and directing a 1950s-era account of the obscenity trial over Ginsberg’s groundbreaking poem.
But what has interested me most in this project, aside from the desire to learn more about Ginsberg, is the cast that is assembling around it. James Franco (Pineapple Express) will star in the lead role as Ginsberg, alongside the likes of Paul Rudd and David Strathairn. And more recently, Alan Alda, Jeff Daniels and “Weeds” star Mary-Louise Parker have signed on to the project. Now, I don’t know about all of you, but as I look at this cast, I am blown away. Franco’s star is certainly rising, and I’m sure that his role in Gus Van Sant’s upcoming film Milk will only help, and the supporting cast is nothing, if not phenomenal. Sure, there are variables to consider, like script and directorial aptitude of Epstein and Friedman, but color me excited, either way. That, and I have a huge critical crush on Mary-Louise Parker, so I will be keeping tabs on this production either way.
What do you think of this cast? Also, for those of you who are more familiar with the life and times of Allen Ginsberg, how do you feel about James Franco playing him in this biopic?