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James Franco as Allen Ginsberg

James Franco as Allen Ginsberg

Entertainment Weekly posted a first look at “Howl,” Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s first narrative feature. It’s definitely one of my more anticipated upcoming films (it looks like it’ll come out in 2010; a Sundance premiere looks likely considering it was a Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab participant), not just because I’m a massive fan of Epstein & Friedman’s documentary work (“Times of Harvey Milk,” “Common Treads,” “The Celluloid Closet,” “Paragraph 175″….), but because the subject material has massive potential – centering around Allen Ginsberg’s creation of his 1955 poem “Howl” and the obscenity trial that followed its publication, with animation, designed by illustrator and Ginsberg collaborator Eric Drooker, highlighting parts of the poem throughout the film – AND because of its dreamy cast. Alessandro Nivola. Jon Hamm. Jeff Daniels. David Strathairn. Mary-Louise Parker. And, of course, James Franco, pictured below with costar Aaron Tveit, continuing a path toward gay icon-ville after “Milk” and “James Dean” in his portrayal of Ginsberg.

Just for a reference point, heres a great pic of Ginsberg with his longtime partner, Peter Orlovsky, who Tveit portrays in “Howl” (thanks to Awards Daily). It looks like they refrained from balding Franco:

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