The feature debut from director Justin Kelly, Michael, has unveiled its first image today. A relatively unknown filmmaker, Kelly’s tutelage under Gus Van Sant has impressed his mentor considerably – as Van Sant boarded the pic as a producer. With only three short films to his name at this point, it looks like Kelly is aiming to grab the industry’s attention with his full-length debut.
Leading the true life tale is James Franco as gay activist Michael Glatze, who denounces his sexuality after a health scare. After leaving San Francisco, he turns to the church to become an anti-gay pastor. Fulfilling the difficult role of his former partner is American Horror Story‘s Zachary Quinto. Over in the supporting docket, Chris Zylka is set to play one of Michael’s ex-lovers, with Emma Roberts cast as his newly-found girlfriend.
Franco and Quinto are centre stage in the first image from the pic (above), which arrived today as part of THR‘s coverage of American Film Market. The shot offers a glimpse at happier times for the couple.
Based on a New York Times Magazine piece, entitled My Gay Ex-Friend, Kelly adapted the script along with Stacey Miller. The story and its subject matter weave a fine line between societal pressure and personal activism; do you do what you truly believe to be right, or continue to play a part that goes against who you are? It’s a tricky concept to master, making this a film to certainly keep your eye on.
There’ll no doubt be a surge of interest this week over the title, with the American Film Market kicking off tomorrow. The producers will be aiming to land a foreign distribution deal for the pic, which is currently shooting. As ever, we’ll keep you posted with any new developments on Michael as they roll in.