Matt Smith’s newest starring role has just been announced, and it’s a fascinating one. The Eleventh Doctor will exchange his sonic screwdriver for a camera. Smith has been cast as Robert Mapplethorpe in a new film about the controversial photographer and his longtime muse, avant-garde singer Patti Smith. Patti Smith will be played by Zosia Mamet, star of the HBO Girls and daughter of acclaimed playwright David Mamet. The movie’s original screenplay will be written by Ondi Timoner, inspired perhaps in part by Patti Smith’s indelible memoir Just Kids, which won a National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2011.
The film, which already has the approval of the Mapplethorpe Foundation will explore the life and art of Mapplethorpe, a gay icon whose work inspired countless admirers and ignited battles over funding for the arts in America. Mapplethorpe’s photographs were boldly homoerotic and often graphic representations of gay life and love. Mapplethorpe’s longtime artistic partner was Patti Smith, whose marvelous deep voice and androgynous look made her a punk idol.
Timoner, who will write and direct the movie, said this about his cast: ‘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.’
The Eleventh Doctor has made some intriguing choices since stepping out of the TARDIS. In September, Smith stars in Patient Zero, and plays a human survivor of a mutated rabies pandemic. In February, Matt Smith will appear as Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies along with a role as Prince Philip in a Netflix original series, The Crown, streaming sometime in 2016.