James Franco: Allen Ginsberg
James Franco has a certain knack for real-life roles.
In 2001, a James Dean TV movie established his ability to play real people, with Franco giving a memorable performance as Hollywood’s short-lived superstar icon. In the biopic Milk (2008), he’s equally strong in a supporting role as Harvey Milk’s lover. In Danny Boyle’s upcoming 127 Hours, Franco is rock-climber Aron Ralston. And he’s at it again, making fact as compelling (if not more so) as fiction, in yet another biopic, entitled Howl.
It focuses on famous beat-poet Allen Ginsberg and his controversial poem, Howl. Originally written as a piece of performance art in 1955, Howl was published a year later by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, who was then tried for obscenity. The film splits its time between court scenes with Ferlinghetti (Andrew Rogers), and flashbacks of Ginsberg’s relationships – the inspiration for his work. There’s also a rhythmic reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco, depicting the moment Ginsberg introduced Howl to the world.