Sneak Peek Buzz on James Franco’s “Sal”

sal_1Exciting news from the folks at Tribeca Film — look for a November 1st theatrical release of James Franco’s long-awaited Sal (it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in late 2011 — feel free to share any insider gossip on the delayed release down in the comments field).

This meticulously observed study of the last 24 hours in the life of Hollywood screen legend Sal Mineo boasts a bravura performance by Val Lauren (Interior. Leather Bar.) as the openly gay actor who was tragically murdered in 1976.

With last year’s A Portrait of James Dean: Joshua Tree, 1951 shining the light on fellow ‘50s icon (and Rebel Without A Cause co-star) James Dean, it’s exciting to see the lesser-known Mineo finally receive his own biopic treatment. With a screenplay by Stacy Miller, the film is adapted from Michael Gregg Michaud’s 2010 Sal Mineo: A Biography.

ssAs the story unfolds, Mineo is on the verge of directing his first film and acting in a stage play in Los Angeles. His boyfriend is coming to visit from New York City. Clearly broke but nonetheless infectiously cheerful, Sal’s day ranges from working out at the gym, notating his film script, talking on the phone with friends. He reminisces about his early days shooting Rebel with Dean, and tools around in his Chevy Malibu puffing away on a Salem. The film’s artfully-crafted minimalist production design evokes a pitch-perfect mid-’70s aesthetic and sustains a creatively suspenseful 85-minute real-life drama.

Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Christina Voros, this latest Franco directorial effort shares the contemplatively-paced style of his other 2011 gay biopic The Broken Tower (about poet Hart Crane) and showcases yet another fascinating gay icon who died too soon.

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  • Dev.C

    Exactly how gay was Sal Mineo, didn’t he have more consistent relationships with women?
    I also remember reading somewhere that he was unaware of sexual desires for men when he worked with James Dean, and that if Dean had lived then he may have had a relationship with him but he didn’t dwell on that fact because he died.
    Most of these out older actors came off as bisexual or curious with gay experiences, but never really affirming any real pride in homosexuality.
    I would like to see more revealing information about these gay actors rather than how they were depicted to make heterosexuals feel comfortable.

  • Jenni

    @Dev.C: I don’t know so much about his sexuality in the ’50s when he worked with James Dean (tho I’m sure that is all covered in Michaud’s book), but certainly in the ’70s he was out and working on gay projects like the stage version of Fortune & Men’s Eyes.

  • Doughosier

    He was pretty gay but like a lot of men, especially in that time, he was slow to be at ease with it. He had some of the great beauties of Hollywood, including Bobby Sherman and Don Johnson.

  • billforsyth

    It would not be possible for him to be gay and proud or even comfortable with being out in his time .Given that not only would it have ended any hopes he had of having a career, it would have possibly led him to being imprisoned.Tab Hunter was often described as being shy and unlucky in love.Even today there are famous Hollywood stars afraid to come out because of the fear it would damage their careers, particularly international stars whose appeal might be global .In some societies the situation and reputation of lgbt people is worse than it was in the west 50 years ago.

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