James Franco’s ‘Howl’ing Gay New Role

James Franco is about to do some rhymes and play gay for pay in his second role in a row.

The New York Daily News reports that the Spider-man actor—most recently seen as Harvey Milk’s boyfriend in the Sean Penn-starring bio-pic Milk—will be playing the late beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming flick Howl.  The movie will follow Ginsberg’s obscenity trial after the publication of the landmark poem of the same name.

The flick, written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, will also star Paul Rudd, WeedsMary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels and David Strathairn.

“Ginsberg has been one of my heroes, and this movie is just so important,” Franco told the paper, dispelling any notions that playing two homosexual characters in succession might derail his career path.

Franco has already been prepping academically for the role.  The actor, 30, graduated from UCLA in June with a degree in English, and his turn in this year’s stoner comedy Pineapple Express will help inform his portrayal of the counterculture icon.

But how will Franco physically portray Ginsberg, who carried a lot more pounds and a lot less hair than the actor? 

“I’m playing him when he was in his late 20s,” Franco reveals. “We work with the old pictures. He has hair, he doesn’t have a beard and he’s not huge.”