WATCH: James Franco Examines Last Hours Of Murdered Gay Icon Sal Mineo

October is LGBT History Month and to celebrate, Queerty’s gaying up each day with our 31 Days of Queerstory.

Since October is officially recognized as LGBT history month, it’s the ideal time to learn about pioneering gay actor Sal Mineo, the subject of James Franco‘s new art project film Sal.

For the uninitiated, Mineo was an Italian heartthrob who won fame and an Academy Award nomination as a closeted teen swooning over James Dean in the 1955 classic Rebel Without A Cause. His curly dark hair and cherubic features quickly made him a teen idol, but despite a second Oscar nod for the 1960 epic Exodus, Mineo found fame to be fleeting. After more or less coming out as gay in the late ’60s, Mineo’s career took a serious nose dive and the once-acclaimed actor was reduced to guest spots on TV dramas and appearing in gay-themed plays such as Fortune and Men’s Eyes.

Sal, based on a portion of writer Michael Gregg Michaud’s brilliant, definitive 2011 book about the actor (do yourself a favor and buy a copy), is not a traditional biopic in any sense. Director Franco takes an intimate look at the hours leading up to Mineo’s random, tragic murder in 1976 outside his apartment in West Hollywood. Val Lauren, who also made waves costarring opposite Franco in the gay-themed docudrama Interior. Leather Bar,  delivers a magnetic, riveting performance as the gone-too-soon title character.

You can watch Sal on VOD and iTunes October 22, or in select theaters beginning November 1 in Los Angeles at the Sundance Sunset Cinema.

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  • yaoming

    Hope it’s good. I’ve always loved Sal.

  • Polaro

    For all those people who bitch about actors who stay in the closet. Perhaps watching this movie might open their eyes to reality.

  • Stache1

    @yaoming: Yeah, me too. It’s about time he gets his story told too.

  • Dev.C

    I still fail to understand how Sal Mineo is a gay Icon, most articles that chronicle his life state he was bisexual and had mostly long lasting relationships with women. I don’t know how much of his personal life was fabricated, like that of his boyhood crush James Dean’s was in order to conceal their homosexual desires, but as a guy in his twenties I have nothing to reference his reality other than films like these and articles written by people who straight wash hollywood.
    Can we have a gay scholar in the world who works at disclosing all the heterosexual revisionism that has plagued the world for so long?

  • python

    uhhhh…….this movie was released in 2011 !!! according to the IMBd site, it garnered only a 4.6 out of 10 rating. So………..

  • python

    @python: Just did some research on the film; the dates on the IMBd site are incorrect. The film was an entry at the Venice FF in September, is going to be shown at the Austin Film Fest later this month, and into limited general release in November.

  • Alan down in Florida

    I don’t know about anyone else but the first time I saw Rebel Without A Cause and watched Sal Mineo’s character in lust with James Dean’s character was the first time I had seen some representation of the feelings I was struggling with in real life up there on the silver screen. It still took decades for me to come out but Sal Mineo taught me who I was.

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