James Franco to Play 'Ex-Gay' Christian Activist Michael Glatze in New Movie

( [email protected] ) Apr 02, 2014 06:13 PM EDT
James Franco reportedly playing former gay advocate turned Christian Michael Glatze in a new Gus Van Sant movie

Actor James Franco recently announced that he will play controversial "anti-gay" advocate Michael Glatze in a new movie. According to Page Six, the 3.5 million project will highlight Glatze's life and career as an outspoken gay promoter turned conservative Christian. The movie, which will be produced by Gus Van Sant, will be filmed in New York.

Glatze, formerly considered a prominent LGBT leader, founded Young Gay America (or Y.G.A.) magazine and produced a documentary about gay teens, "Jim in Bold," to raise awareness for teen gay suicide.

He made headlines in 2005 when he announced he had discovered God following a health scare. Stating he had experienced a "change of heart," Glatze renounced his sexuality, becoming a Christian and stating he was now "ex-gay."

Glatze stepped down as the co-founder of Young Gay America magazine in 2005, leaving a note on his office computer that read, "Homosexuality is death, and I choose life."

"We cannot see the truth when we're blinded by homosexuality," he wrote in 2007 for conservative news site WND. "We believe, under the influence of homosexuality, that lust is not just acceptable, but a virtue. But there is no homosexual 'desire' that is apart from lust."

James Franco is no stranger to playing homosexual figures in movies; the "Pineapple Express" actor, 35, played gay characters in "Milk" and "Howl," and worked with Travis Mathews to direct 2013's "Interior. Leather Bar.," which was deemed a "docu-fiction" examination of the BDSM subculture.

"It's not like it's my mission to tell the stories of as many gay men as possible, although in some cases, I think it is the point," Franco told the Daily Beast ,"I guess that a lot of the figures that I love were gay."

Glatze continues to actively speak out against homosexuality, writing that "Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic." He later stated he was "repulsed to think about homosexuality" and that he was "going to do what I can to fight it."

He credits his relationship with God for delivering him from faith, but acknowledges that his story makes him a target for pro-gay activists. In a column for WND, Glatze writes, "I love my God. I love my life. I am grateful for every breath. I am grateful to God for humanity...I am not trying to 'rub this in' to anyone's face, but I want to be clear ... that I am not here to 'force my agenda' or my 'lifestyle' on anyone else. I am here to live a good, God-honoring life. And as a Christian, I would be a liar if I didn't tell people Who God is, what He has done in my life and how He continues to provide for me (and now-thank God-my family) in ways that are more numerous than I can count."

The movie documenting Glatze's life will begin filming in July of this year.