NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Alan Alda, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, David Strathairn and Paul Rudd are attached to join the beatnik biopic “Howl.”
The 1950s-era feature focuses on the obscenity trial that sought to censor Allen Ginsberg’s groundbreaking book-length poem. “Spider-Man” villain James Franco will play Ginsberg.
Among the real-life characters featured in the film are Judge Clayton Horn (Alda), prosecution witness Professor David Kirk (Daniels), radio personality and prosecution witness Gail Potter (Parker), prosecuting attorney Ralph McIntosh (Strathairn) and literary critic and defense witness Luther Nichols (Rudd).
“Howl” marks the feature directing debut of documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who were approached by the Allen Ginsberg Trust to make a film commemorating the 50th anniversary of “Howl.”
“Fifty years later, Ginsberg’s vision is as relevant as the year he wrote it,” Friedman said. “It resonates with issues of free speech, government censorship, militaristic empire building, fear-mongering, sexual conformity and the co-opting of religion.”
Graphic novelist and Ginsberg collaborator Eric Drooker will create an animated reimagining of “Howl” (in segments Epstein described as “a Beat Fantasia”), and Carter Burwell will write the original score.
Epstein and Friedman produced and directed “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt,” and Epstein directed “The Times of Harvey Milk,” both Oscar-winning documentaries.