The trailer for the biopic Mapplethorpe, about the acclaimed photographer and button-pusher Robert Mapplethorpe, has finally dropped. The Crown’s Matt Smith stars as the queer lothario whose frank depictions of male genitalia and BDSM were favorite targets of the religious right.
Ondi Timoner, known primarily for her work in documentary film and television, is at the helm of the movie that follows Mapplethorpe from his beginnings as an artist and a denizen of New York City's Chelsea Hotel, where he lived with poet, author, and rocker Patti Smith (who wrote the gorgeous memoir Just Kids about their friendship), through to the height of his fame, his relationship with art collector and curator Sam Wagstaff (John Benjamin Hickey), and his death from AIDS in 1989 at age 42.
Judging from the trailer, Mapplethorpe doesn’t shy away from its subject’s embrace of his sexuality that was the cornerstone of much of his work. It also continues to tell HIV and AIDS narratives following films and TV in 2018 that include Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Bohemian Rhapsody, 1985, and Pose that sought to bring stories of strength in the face of the epidemic to a new generation of audiences.
The cast includes relative newcomer Marianne Rendón as Patti Smith and Hari Neff as Tinkerbelle.