Actor James Franco posted a photo of himself on his Instagram account yesterday dressed in character as Michael Glatze during the first day of filming "Michael," a movie about Glatze's transition from homosexual magazine editor to married, heterosexual Christian pastor.
The script for "Michael" is based on a 2011 New York Times Magazine article that follows Glatze as a Bible college student in Wyoming after leaving his post at the formerly popular gay youth publication, XY Magazine. Although the film will focus on Glatze's past, director Justin Kelly notes that the movie's message goes beyond just that.
"This isn't just a story about an 'ex-gay'. It's actually a very relatable story about the power of belief and the desire to belong," said Kelly, reports Yahoo!
Actor Zachary Quinto, who came out as gay in 2011 and who starred in "Star Trek" as Spock, has also joined the cast of "Michael" to play Glatze's ex-boyfriend, while Emma Roberts will co-star as Franco's girlfriend. "Michael" will be Franco's third film in which he plays a gay man, but he has produced other gay-based films in the past.
Glatze, who now serves as a pastor alongside his wife, Rebekah, told The Christian Post in a previous interview that he was content with the film's message and casting crew.
"I'm grateful to God that He is going to get the glory in the midst of this movie and we are praying that it will be an honest movie," said Glatze. "I am excited to see all the build-up, and know that good quality actors and actresses are getting involved."
Through the years, Glatze has been heavily scrutinized by critics who question his authenticity. His transformation from gay to straight happened after he started to question his lifestyle following a health scare and with no one to turn to; at that point he decided to seek help in God. However, he notes that regardless of how he is portrayed, he continues to live out his faith and focus on his ministry.
"I'm fascinated by the press, which calls me an "ex-gay activist," or something along those lines, which I am not. In fact, that is really not a part of my life at all, at this point. I did speak out, quite vocally, back in 2007 and over the years since then but God has a way of working in people's hearts, including mine," Glatze told CP.
He added, "I'm really not interested in any sort of activism about healing from homosexuality or ex-gay ministries, or anything along those lines and, also, I've completely bowed out of any sort of conservative Christian 'culture war.' I think it causes more harm than good."
The New York Post reports that "Michael" is a $3.5 million movie being filmed in New York.