James Franco, according to the Hollywood Reporter, has been cast as poet Ginsberg in the film that centers on the 1957 obscenity trial that followed the publication of Ginsberg's heralded poem "Howl."
In honor of the 50th anniversary of "Howl," the Ginsberg trust approached Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Rob Epstein ("The Times of Harvey Milk"), who will co-write and direct the film with Jeffrey Friedman.
"Fifty years later, Ginsberg's vision is as relevant as the year he wrote it," Friedman told the Hollywood Reporter. "It resonates with issues of free speech, government censorship, militaristic empire building, fear-mongering, sexual conformity and the co-opting of religion."
The docu-drama features the many players in the 1957 trial: prosecuting attorney Ralph McIntosh (David Strathairn), Judge Clayton Horn (Alan Alda), prosecution witness Professor David Kirk (Jeff Daniels), radio personality and prosecution witness Gail Potter (Mary-Louise Parker) and literary critic and defense witness Luther Nichols (Paul Rudd).
Eric Drooker, a graphic novelist who created "Illuminated Poems," an illustrated book of Ginsberg's work, is on board to create an animated version of "Howl" for the film. A theatrical release date has not been announced.