A biopic of Robert Mapplethorpe starring James Franco is in the air, and this is very, very good news!
The film “Mapplethorpe” will follow the photographer’s life from his rise in the 1970s until his death at age 42 in 1989 from complications arising from AIDS. Mapplethorpe was as famous for his calmly explicit homoerotic nude males and provocative depictions of sadomasochistic sex as for his stark black-and-white portraits of such celebrities as Deborah Harry, Andy Warhol, Isabella Rossellini, William Burroughs, Grace Jones, and his onetime soulmate Patti Smith.
Playing Mapplethorpe will lend some thematic consistency to James Franco’s career as an actor. His decisions to play Harvey Milk’s boyfriend Scott Smith in “Milk” (2008), Allen Ginsberg in “Howl” (2010), and now Mapplethorpe probably has less to do with any interest he has in playing gay men than in portraying figures whose rights and freedoms were threatened by self-appointed moral guardians.
They’re also too juicy and iconic roles for any ambitious actor in his early thirties to turn down.
Image source: Image 1 – James Franco by Terry Richardson; Image 2 – Robert Mapplethorpe self portrait