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Franco to play Mapplethorpe

James Franco has been cast as celebrated and controversial photographer and artist Robert Mapplethorpe in a new biopic.

It's not the first time the 127 Hours actor has signed up to play a famous homosexual on the big screen - he played beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Howl and in The Broken Tower he stars as poet Hart Crane. He also portrayed politician Harvey Milk's gay lover in Milk.

Mapplethorpe died of AIDS at the age of 42 in 1989.