Val Lauren ("Dallas 362") has joined the cast of "Sal", a biopic of enigmatic young actor Sal Mineo which James Franco will direct says The Hollywood Reporter.
Based on Michael Gregg Michaud's biography, Mineo rose to fame for his Oscar-nominated supporting actor role in James Dean's most famous work "Rebel Without a Cause" in 1955. He was usually typecast as a troubled teen and later a deranged criminal, but garnered praise for his performances (and a second Oscar nomination for "Exodus").
He was also gay and was thought to be the first actor to have come out of the closet. At the age of 37, Mineo was stabbed to death in the alley behind his apartment building by a thief and pizza deliveryman who had committed numerous robberies in the area
Franco adapted the script and will produce through his Rabbit Bandini company, though will not appear in the film (Franco played James Dean in a 2001 TV Movie). Shooting kicks off in Los Angeles in early summer.