EXCLUSIVE: Matt Smith, best known for playing Doctor Who in that iconic BBC series, is taking on another larger-than-life figure. He has landed the lead role as avant-garde photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in a biopic titled Mapplethorpe in the works from writer-director Ondi Timoner, the two-time Sundance-winning director whose 2015 pic Brand: A Second Coming opened SXSW last year. Girls regular Zosia Mamet has been cast to play Patti Smith, Mapplethorpe’s one-time lover and best friend.
Timoner, who won at Sundance for DIG in 2004 and We Live In Public in 2009, is also producing with Sirad Balducci and Eliza Dushku. The project has the backing of the Mapplethorpe Foundation, and a summer production start is in the works. CAA and UTA co-rep the project.
Mapplethorpe, who died of AIDS in 1989 at 42, is the subject of the HBO documentary Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures, which bowed Friday in the Documentary Premieres section at Sundance and is from the docu duo of Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.
In addition to playing the good Doctor, Smith is next up on the movie side in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, opposite Lily James, Jack Huston and Sam Riley, and is filming Netflix series The Crown, playing Prince Philip to Claire Foy’s Queen Elizabeth. Mamet is currently in Weiner-Dog, the Todd Solondz pic at Sundance, and she is back for Season 5 of HBO’s Lena Dunham series Girls, which returns February 21.
Said Timoner: “After several years of developing this script and searching across the globe for the perfect talent to embody the rich and layered roles of visionary artists Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, I am ecstatic to have found Matt Smith and Zosia Mamet. They will bring indelible passion, raw humanity, and authenticity to this timeless, inspiring story.”
Smith is repped by UTA and Troika, Mamet by UTA and 3 Arts. Timoner is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.