Matt Smith will portray celebrated photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in an upcoming film. The film is directed by the brilliant documentary film-maker Ondi Timoner, who has previously directed Dig! and We Live in Public. Mapplethorpe is a look at the life of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe from his rise to fame in the 1970s to his untimely death in 1989.

With such a serious subject matter and an award-winning documentary filmmaker, you may be wondering how Doctor Who fits into the genesis of Mapplethorpe. The Hollywood Reporter has the story of how Matt Smith was cast in the titular role. It all comes down to Ondi Timoner’s son who it turns out is a huge Doctor Who fan.

Timoner initially thought her sons’ suggestion was ridiculous “the idea of Doctor Who as Robert Mapplethorpe, that doesn’t make any sense.'” But it led to her agreeing to meet Matt Smith, and then she realised that her son was right and that Smith was perfect for the role. “There’s just something to Matt where he’s just always in turmoil. There’s something brewing underneath all the time. There’s a mysticism that Robert possessed in my eyes and my script.”

Ondi Timoner has been developing the project for 12 years and was drawn to the tell Mapplethorpe’s story as she found him to be an impossible visionary. Mapplethorpe was known for his stark black and white photography, often of controversial subject matter, another component that attracted Timoner to his story. Robert Mapplethorpe had a huge influence on the world of art, and also in championing gay rights, Aids awareness and highlighting the LGBT community.

Matt Smith discussed how he prepared for the roe at the premiere, which took place at the Tribeca film festival.  He said “Like any movie, really, you sort of invest in the context of the time and the culture of the person as much as you can and explore their emotional makeup and also their artistic personality, in this case, and his instincts and his pursuits as an artist really and try and understand a bit about how he became the artist he did, because that’s really the most interesting thing about him in many ways.”

The film currently doesn’t have a set release date, but expect to see it later this year.


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