James Franco to Strike a Pose as Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe

[caption id="attachment_59303" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Getty Images"]James Franco[/caption]

Either he has a secret identical twin brother named Frank Jameso or he's taking the same drug Bradley Cooper was on in "Limitless," but it's starting to become a cliché that James Franco appears in like 100 movies a year.

Now the actor/inventor of the 28-hour day has taken on yet another ambitious project, this time a biopic on New York photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Indiewire reports that Franco, who bears a decent resemblance, will play the art world figure whose beautiful black and white portraits of everything from celebrities to ultra-explicit sexual acts continue to spark controversy and high auction prices long after his 1989 death from AIDS. His former-lover/friend Patti Smith and mentor/companion Sam Wagstaff are just some of the juicy roles yet to cast.

"Mapplethorpe" is the feature debut of documentarian Ondi Timoner, whose brilliant 2009 film "We Live In Public" is one of the most fascinating deconstructions of internet culture yet made (you can watch it for free on Hulu). She'll produce alongside "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" actress Eliza Dushku, who was a major supporter of "We Live In Public," hosting the Los Angeles premiere.

This seems like a project tailor made for Franco, who's no stranger to inciting controversy, be it through seemingly hosting the Oscars on Quaaludes or perhaps having his NYU professor fired. Mapplethorpe is also the latest in a long line of gay icons Franco has portrayed, including actor James Dean, activist Scott Smith and poets Allen Ginsberg and Hart Crane, although playing heterosexual icon Hugh Hefner in "Lovelace" and pick-up artist Neil Strauss in "The Game" certainly tips the scale a little bit.

Timoner has been developing the project through the aid of Sundance Labs and a $15,000 grant from the Tribeca Film Institute.