James Franco first made a name for himself in Hollywood in the 2001 biopic James Dean, for which he won a Golden Globe. So how fitting that the fine actor is now directing the film Sal, about the life and career of another idol of The Smoking Nun, Sal Mineo.
Dean and Mineo, of course, starred with Natalie Wood in 1955's Rebel Without A Cause, for which Mineo was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as quietly gay character Plato.
He next appeared in Exodus, scoring another Oscar nod and winning a Golden Globe award. Mineo also had a small but meaningful role in Dean's third and final flick Giant; and a roaring good time in the title role of The Gene Krupa Story in 1959, for which he learned to play a mad set of drums. Bizarrely, he also played Milo in Escape From the Planet of the Apes in 1971.
Sadly, Mineo—one of the first openly gay actors—was murdered at the age of 37 in 1976.
Sal is based on a new biography of Mineo by Michael Gregg Michaud, and stars relative unknown Val Lauren in the title role. Filming wrapped at the end of June, with a release in 2013. The first stills from Sal have just been released, below the Mineo collage.