James Franco set to play Robert Mapplethorpe

James Franco is set to star in a dramatic feature about the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe,
which has been selected as one of the projects to receive grants
through the Tribeca Film Institute’s 9th annual Tribeca All Access

Mapplethorpe, in which Franco would play the artist who defied censors and died of AIDS in 1989, is to be the narrative film. 

He was best known for his large-scale, highly stylized black and white portraits, photos of flowers and nude men. The frank homo-eroticism of some of the work of his middle period triggered a  controversy about the public funding of artworks.

Franco discussed rumors of his own gay sexuality last year in Playboy.