James Franco casts Val Lauren as Sal Mineo in biopic

Val Lauren has been cast as Sal Mineo in James Franco's upcoming biopic tentatively titled Sal. The film tells the story of the enigmatic actor best known for his appearance opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. The project is being produced by Franco under his Rabbit Bandini banner. Filming is slated to star early this summer in Los Angeles. It has been adapted for the screen by Franco from a recently released biography of Mineo by Michael Gregg Michaud. Lauren starred in the indie Dallas 362 and the short film Help, which he wrote, directed and produced. Franco will not be starring in the film like has been speculated.

Mineo (who was gay) broke ground for his portrayal of a homosexual character named John "Plato" Crawford in Rebel. He was murdered in Hollywood at the age of 37 after being nominated for two supporting actor Oscar's for his roles in Rebel and Exodus

Here is what Lauren had to say about the role:

"Sal Mineo himself was an extraordinary and super complex guy. People know him for Rebel Without a Cause, but he was technically the first actor who came out of the closet. He was very brave."

Lauren has a guest spot on the season finale of Hawaii Five-0, airing May 16. He is also slated to adapt Help into a feature for Openfilm. I remember seeing Dallas 362, but do not remember Lauren in the film. He sure does look like Mineo, so his casting makes sense.

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