James Franco is definitely cool with the gays. First he's got film bios of James Dean, Harvey Milk, Allen Ginsberg, and Hart Crane on his resume. His new project Sal, which Franco directed and costars in,
continues that trend by covering the final hours of gay actor Sal Mineo's life. (The Rebel Without a Cause co-star was murdered in 1976.)
In hopes of clearing up some misconceptions about Mineo, Franco released a statement about the film.
"Sal Mineo was 37 when he was murdered and was on the cusp of a new upswing in his career. He had started as a child star and when he was 15 acted opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, for which they were both nominated for Oscars. [Editor's note: Dean was nominated for East of Eden, not Rebel.] As a young performer Sal was incredibly successful, as both an actor and a singer, and then in his twenties, for a variety of reasons both in and out of his control, he lost the recognition he had enjoyed at the beginning of his career. He struggled through his twenties and thirties to work, never again achieving the level of success he once enjoyed. He lived the common tragedy of so many creative people who are so passionate about what they do and yet don't have an outlet for their work. But even to the end Sal was fighting for freedom of expression and for ways to create work that was exciting and new. When he was murdered the tabloid magazines groundlessly hinted that the murder might have involved drugs or a lover, and the memory of Sal has been forever tainted by such conjecture in bad faith. This film is a portrait of a sensitive and kind artist in his last hours."
Sal is set to premiere at the prestigious Venice Film Festival this Saturday.