James Franco's To Play Gay Activist In Film Based on 'NYT' Article, 'Milk' Producer Attached

Sure, he lately has been making headlines with his zest for all things editorial, but he's an actor first and foremost, and we've got the scoop on his next role. James Franco will play a gay activist in his next movie. It's more than just that, though — this is a different kind of story that doesn't end too optimistically. In fact, it's based on a true story.

More specifically, it's based on a New York Times article (ah, that's something Franco is familiar with!). Franco will play Michael Glatze, a gay activist who left San Francisco to renounce his past and become an ex-gay Christian fundamentalist. His ex-partner, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, chronicled his journey from activist to fundamentalist in the reflective 2011 New York Times article, "My Ex-Gay Friend," which is now the source of inspiration for this film. It will be produced by Gus Van Sant (who directed Milk , which also featured Franco and was similarly about a gay rights activist — except one who continued his fight rather than turn into a Christian fundamentalist ) and will have Justin Kelly at the helm.

Production will begin this July, making this a big summer for Franco — he's starring on Broadway in Of Mice And Men, promoting his new book of poetry, potentially still editorializing (oh, please), Instagramming and taking selfies, and of course, philosophizing, as always. We can only hope for some musing on his preparation for this pretty radical role.