When James Franco appeared in the 2001 made for television movie James Dean it altered the course of his career forever. At the time he was known for his role on the cult series “Freaks and Geeks” but after he was called one of Hollywood’s rising stars. It was that movie that earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie and now a decade later he wants to return to those roots. This time his focus will be on another Rebel Without a Cause star, Sal Mineo.
According to THR, Franco could write and direct a biopic based on the life of Mineo who played John ‘Plato’ Crawford in the 1955 film opposite Dean. The actor earned a Best Supporting Oscar nomination for his performance but unfortunately faded from the limelight soon after. He had a tumultuous life which included drugs use, a battle with his sexuality, and his eventual murder at the age of 37. He was stabbed to death by a pizza delivery man.
Franco has optioned the property for his production company Rabbit Bandini. The film will be based on the book Sal Mineo: A Biography, by artist and photographer Michael Gregg Michaud, which was published in November. At this time Franco isn’t interested in starring in the film but that could change.
“The book includes insights from such collaborators as Dennis Hopper, as well as Mineo’s fiancee Jill Haworth and his male lover Courtney Burr, according to book reviews.”
In hindsight it’s sad how the three main actors from Rebel Without a Cause all died young (Dean, Mineo, Natalie Wood). It’s almost eerie.
What do you think of Franco possibly writing and directing a film based on the life of Sal Mineo?