It’s been a long wait since Sal, a Sal Mineo biopic directed by Renaissance Man James Franco, made its world premiere at the prestigious Venice Film Festival in 2011. But at long last we have a trailer as the film readies for its theatrical opening. And as you can see above, this is not your typical Hollywood story of fame and fortune, but rather what can come after those things fade.
Do you know the story of Sal Mineo? In the 1950s, he was a dashing young actor who was winning hearts from movie-going girls and praise from critics for his roles opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. Not only was he a heartthrob, but also he was a two-time Academy Award nominee. With a string of poignant performances, Mineo helped define the troubled teen on screen. Yet it was this typecasting niche that forced him out of a career as he aged. By the 1960s, he was struggling to get work. And his decision to be open about his homosexuality further hindered his career, up until he met a brutal and abrupt end in 1976.
As an attractive actor who also had to fight against becoming typecast as a trouble teen post Freaks and Geeks, it’s easy to see how Franco related to Mineo’s story. News first arose on his efforts to develop its script back in 2010. Then in the spring of 2011, Franco found his leading man in Val Lauren, an actor better known for theater than film. Inspired by the biography penned by Michael Gregg Michaud, Franco collaborated with Lauren and Vince Jolivette to create a screenplay that would capture Mineo’s latter-day struggle in a distilled form. According to the official synopsis:
James Franco's Sal chronicles the final day in the life of actor Sal Mineo (Val Lauren), 1950s teen idol and an Academy Award® nominee for his roles in Rebel Without a Cause and Exodus. Almost two decades later, Mineo is no longer the marquee sensation he had once been — but he has become open about his homosexuality and is finding his way to becoming the actor and director he has always wanted to be. Featuring a magnetic performance by Lauren, Franco's intimate portrait finds the human details in a larger-than-life Hollywood story.
Below you can get a taste of Mineo’s raw talent and appeal in his Rebel Without a Cause screentest:
Sal will be available on iTunes and VOD starting October 22nd, and a limited theatrical release will follow on November 1st, beginning in Los Angeles.