BREAKING: James Franco To Play Allen Ginsberg in ‘Howl!’

Franco stepped into a stoner persona for “Pineapple Express,” and now he’s set to explore his even more hippier side as the legendary poet Allen Ginsberg. The actor gave the news exclusively to MTV News, revealing that he’ll be tackling the writer for a new movie called, appropriately enough, “Howl,” after Ginsberg’s famous poem written at the height of the Beat Generation.

“It’s by a two time Oscar Award winner named Rob Epstein, he’s actually a documentary film director,” Franco said of the project. “So I’m gonna play the young Allen Ginsberg, the days before he went bald and gained weight. The early Howl days.”

Since the film is a documentary, Franco will presumably re-enact several moments from Ginsberg’s early life, a la the recent “Chicago Ten.” Is Franco himself up on the era?

“Oh certainly,” the man formerly known as Harry Osborne insisted. “I’ve certainly read ‘Howl.’ I was very into the beatniks when I was in high school, and I still am. So I certainly have read Howl many times.”

Go look at a picture of a young Allen Ginsberg, then the picture above of James Franco. You can see it now, right? Think he’ll make a good Ginsberg? Sound off below!