We reported a few months ago that James Franco had optioned Michael Gregg Michaud‘s biography of Rebel Without a Cause star Sal Mineo, with the intention of writing and directing (but not acting in) a biopic about the actor. Now it looks like he’s found his star. Val Lauren has been cast as the lead in the film, which is currently going by the title Sal.

Michaud’s book Sal Mineo: A Biography deals with Mineo’s rise to fame, his conflicted sexuality, and his tragic murder at the age of 37. Lauren expressed his excitement about the role to The Hollywood Reporter:

Sal Mineo himself was an extraordinary and super complex guy… People know him for Rebel Without a Cause, but he was technically the first actor who came out of the closet. He was very brave.

Lauren’s past credits include Dallas 362, The Salton Sea, and the short film Help, which he also wrote and directed. In addition to Sal, Lauren’s upcoming projects also include a guest spot on Hawaii Five-O and a feature film adaptation of Help (not to be confused with The Help). [The Hollywood Reporter]

After the jump, new parts for Kiefer Sutherland and Rachel Weisz.

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James Franco is one busy guy. 127 Hours is in theaters, he’s shot parts in films like Your Highness, he’s prepping to go back to do another stint on General Hospital, he’s been optioning several books as possible film projects, and now he’s shooting another movie, called Maladies. The latter co-stars Alan Cumming, Claire Danes, Catherine Keener and is directed by the artist Carter, who made the short film Erased James Franco.

More details on Maladies, plus news of James Franco’s possible Sal Mineo biopic, after the break. Read More »

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview. In this installment: the perverse and obscure ’60s thriller, Who Killed Teddy Bear?, being shown tonight at NYC’s Anthology Film Archives; the doc, Nick Nolte: No Exit, which finds good ol’ Nick candidly Q&Aing himself on topics ranging from god to drugs. For a special Weekend Weirdness posted yesterday about the imaginative skateboarder fantasy Machotaildrop, click here.

Photographed above is a real deal, shrink-wrapped, limited-edition VHS for The House of the Devil, promoting its release on DVD/Blu-Ray early next month. It’s one of the coolest pieces of swag I’ve received for this column thus far; to my knowledge only a few peeps were sent one, including Devil-supporter Drew McWeeny at HitFix. And even fewer peers have watched the tape. Some are scared, others are sans VCR. I’ve seen last year’s best horror flick at least thirteen times now, so I’d rather keep it sealed. Similar to the wizard-bong approved THotD poster design by Kellerhouse last year, the VHS packaging has faux rental scruffs, in addition to a retro “new release” starburst. A disclaimer on the back reads, “Caution: This film contains Satanic references and graphic violence.” Haters would add: “…and so much pointless walking.”

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