Zosia Mamet to Play Patti Smith in Upcoming Mapplethorpe Biopic

It's certainly an unexpected casting decision.

Norman Seef, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe (1969). Photo: ©Norman Seef, courtesy Morrison Hotel Gallery.
Norman Seef, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe (1969). Photo: ©Norman Seef, courtesy Morrison Hotel Gallery.

Rising starlet Zosia Mamet will play beloved poet and singer-songwriter Patti Smith in Mapplethorpe, a planned biopic about photographer Robert Mapplethorpe of Man in Polyester Suit infamy, reports Pitchfork. Smith famously recounted her friendship with Mapplethorpe in the widely-read 2010 memoir Just Kids, a collection of tales about the gritty art and music scene of 1960s and ’70s New York.

The daughter of playwright David Mamet rose to fame for her role as the bubbly Shoshanna in “Girls,” a character that has next to nothing in common with Smith. In February, the critically-acclaimed HBO series by Lena Dunham (herself the daughter of artists Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham) enters its fifth and penultimate season.

Mamet will play opposite Matt Smith as Mapplethorpe. The British actor is best known for being the 11th man to hold the title role in the BBC’s long-running series “Dr. Who.” He is also attached to the upcoming film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and “The Crown,” a Netflix original series about a young Queen Elizabeth II.

The Mapplethorpe movie is being written, directed, and produced by Ondi Timoner, a darling of the indie film festival circuit. The project is backed by the Mapplethorpe Foundation, and is scheduled to begin production this summer.

Zosia Mamet at the Ziegfeld Theatre, New York, for the premiere of <em>Sisters</em>. Photo: Jimi Celeste, © Patrick McMullan.

Zosia Mamet at the Ziegfeld Theatre, New York, for the premiere of Sisters.
Photo: Jimi Celeste, © Patrick McMullan.

Meanwhile, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, an HBO documentary about the photographer’s life and career, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, January 22.

The documentary’s release is pegged to the upcoming joint exhibition at Los Angeles’s J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), opening March 15 and March 20, respectively. LACMA director Michael Govan called the show “the most significant exhibition of Mapplethorpe ever mounted” at a luncheon held in New York city in November.

As if that weren’t enough Mapplethorpe on film, Just Kids is being turned into a miniseries by Showtime, which will be co-written by Smith. For those unconvinced by Mamet’s casting, now is the time to start petitioning in your preferred starlet’s favor.

“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,” said Timoner in a statement, as quoted by Deadline. “They will bring indelible passion, raw humanity, and authenticity to this timeless, inspiring story.”


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