According to the NY Observer, Hollywood heart throb and scholar James Franco is penned to star in a new film about the life of controversial American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The film will be directed by Ondi Timoner who received a $15,000 grant through the Tribeca Film Institute’s 9th annual Tribeca All Access Program. Mapplethorpe died from complications from AIDS in 1989 and during the 80s was a lightening rod for controversy as the debate regarding public funding for art raged within in the US. His work often depicted men and the subjects of homoeroticism and sadomasochism. North Carolina senator Jesse Helms a major opponent to “degenerate” art said at the time,
The American people …are disgusted with the idea of giving the taxpayers’ money to artists who promote homosexuality insidiously and deliberately, who desecrate crucifixes by immersing them in urine, and others who will engage in whatever perversion it takes to win acclaim as an artist on the ‘offending edge’ and therefore entitled to taxpayer funding.
Actor James Franco attends “Shorts #1 – GSA Shorts” screening on October 9, 2010 at United Artists Theater in East Hampton, New York. (Photo © Nick Stepowyj) via wikicommons