John Logan and Patti Smith to Script Smith’s ‘Just Kids’ for the Screen

By  · Published on August 15th, 2011

Patti Smith and John Logan are collaborating on a spec script based on Smith’s own memoir, “Just Kids,” an intimate book that chronicled Smith’s relationship with seminal American artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith has never written a feature film, but the punk singer has a long history in writing poetry and her own lyrics and the actual book, so she’ll likely do just fine with the material. Logan is an Oscar-winning screenwriter who has big stuff under his belt, like The Aviator and Rango, along with upcoming films Hugo, Bond 23, and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

Though the film doesn’t have distribution set up, the star power of the screenwriting pair combined with the National Book Award-winning memoir should make it easy for the film to find a home. And that’s not to mention the fact that a “Just Kids” film is exactly what all the pot-smoking hipsters of the world have likely been whining for while drinking their PBRs on the blackest of Brooklyn nights. It’s a great book to read while you’re waiting for your next game of pick-up dodgeball or whatever. And, for all the hipster digs that may be easy to take at the book, it’s a fairly wonderful examination of both friendship and art.

The book traces Smith and Mapplethorpe’s relationship, which could ostensibly be called a love story, though one made infinitely complicated by Smith and Mapplethorpe’s (oh, let’s be delicate here) divergent sexual orientations. But though “Just Kids” is a pretty personal look at Smith and Mapplethorpe’s lives together in the ’60s and ’70s, it also opens up a world of cinematic possibility to bring the vibrant and gritty New York City of their youth to the screen, complete with all the colorful characters that populated it. There is a bevy of well-known characters that run through the book, including Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix (to name just a slim few), along with a wonderfully veiled portrayal of Smith’s short relationship with the utterly studly Sam Shepard.

It’s also fairly obvious that James Franco should play Mapplethorpe. Back in 2009, actress Eliza Dushku announced that she was developing a Mapplethorpe biopic, once set to star her own brother, though the role was later linked to none other than Franco. News on that project has been scarce, but knowing Franco, he’d gladly play Mapplethorpe in two films. He’d probably also like to take on the Smith role, or the Hendrix, or the Joplin… [Deadline Far Rockaway]