James Franco as famed beat poet Allen
Ginsberg in Howl arrives on DVD Tuesday.
The film takes a look at Ginsberg's
most famous poem, Howl, published in 1955 by City Lights, a
San Francisco-based bookstore. The poem went on to become the
subject of a landmark obscenity trial that tested the boundaries of
the First Amendment.
Ginsberg's love affair with poet Peter
Orlovsky, played by Aaron Tveit, is also explored in the movie.
“It was when I met Peter that
everything changed for me,” Franco as Ginsberg says, as the film
shows the men playfully kissing in bed. “It was as if the heavens
showered with gold. Finally, somebody loved me like I loved them.
For the first time I felt accepted in my life. Completely.” (A
clip of the film is embedded in the right panel of this page.)
Franco's willingness to play gay
onscreen – he played Harvey Milk's lover, Scott Smith, in Milk
– has stirred up rumors about the actor's sexuality. But
in a recent cover story with gay glossy The
Franco denied the claim.
“Everyone thinks I'm a stoner, and
some people think I'm gay because I've played gay roles,” the
32-year-old openly straight actor said. “That's what people think,
but it's not true. I don't smoke pot. I'm not gay.”
film also features Mad Man star Jon Hamm as defense
attorney Jake Ehrlich, and Mary-Louise Parker pops in for a quick
cameo. Jon Prescott plays the straight but not narrow poet Neal