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There are a lot of people who still consider James Franco primarily an actor, but thanks to the sheer volume of his output, Franco’s career as a film director is flowering. He’s got 22 credits to his name, and while many of his efforts are very under the radar efforts, Franco is commanding attention for his adaptation of works by authors such as William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy.

As I Lay Dying has done festival rounds, The Sound and the Fury is shooting now, and the McCarthy adaptation Child of God just played the New York Film Festival and at a “secret” screening at Fantastic Fest. I admire Franco’s dedication to just getting work done, and love that he’ll tackle difficult material like Child of God, which he managed to turn into an interesting, engaging movie without watering down any of the weird or alienating elements of the story. All of which is a long preamble to argue for taking Franco seriously as a filmmaker.

And so here’s a trailer for Sal, a film Franco completed in 2011. The film follows the last day of Sal Mineo, who was nominated for Oscars for his work in Rebel Without a Cause and Exodus, but soon found his career faltering. Openly homosexual after coming out in the ’60s, Mineo’s career had started to take an upswing when he was murdered outside his apartment in 1976. Val Lauren plays Mineo, and you can get a taste of his work, and the film, in the trailer below. Read More »

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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.

Read More »

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