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Sal Mineo is finally going to get his due.

Last year James Franco optioned the rights to Michael Gregg Michaud's 'Sal Mineo: A Biography,' and he's now moving ahead with the production -- tentatively titled 'Sal' -- having adapted the script and, now, having picked an actor to play the lead: Val Lauren. Lauren's credits include the 2003 indie film 'Dallas 362' and 'Help', a short film he wrote, directed and produced.

The film tells the story of the sensitive actor best known for his role as John "Plato" Crawford opposite James Dean in 'Rebel Without a Cause.' Mineo was nominated for an Oscar for that 1955 film and for his role in 'Exodus' in 1960. He was murdered in West Hollywood in 1976 at the age of 37.

Like his misunderstood and confused character in 'Rebel,' Mineo's career was rocky. He began in theater in New York before moving to Los Angeles for parts in 'Six Bridges to Cross' and 'The Private War of Major Benson.' After 'Rebel' he became typecast as a troubled teenager; when he got too old for those parts, he became typecast as a sociopathic criminal in such films as 'Who Killed Teddy Bear?' and on TV. He tried his hand at being a pop singer in 1957 and again worked on the stage. In 1971 he starred in the San Francisco production of 'P.S. Your Cat Is Dead'; ironically, his good notices in that production brought him back to L.A. for a Southern California run just before he was killed.

The film will be produced by Franco's Rabbit Bandini company, and will begin shooting in Los Angeles in early summer.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]