David Strathairn, Alan Alda, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker and Paul Rudd have joined James Franco in the biopic Howl, based on the life of beatnik poet Allen Ginsberg.

According to , Telling Pictures documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman will make their narrative writing, producing and directing debut with the 1950s-era tale, focusing on the obscenity trial launched to censor Ginsberg's groundbreaking book-length poem. The pair were approached by the Allen Ginsberg Trust to make a film commemorating the 50th anniversary of "Howl."

Among the real-life characters featured in the film are prosecuting attorney Ralph McIntosh (Strathairn), Judge Clayton Horn (Alda), prosecution witness Professor David Kirk (Daniels), radio personality and prosecution witness Gail Potter (Parker) and literary critic and defense witness Luther Nichols (Rudd).

Gus Van Sant is executive producing the project.

Graphic novelist and Ginsberg collaborator Eric Drooker will create an animated reimagining of "Howl" (in segments Epstein describes as "a Beat Fantasia") and Carter Burwell will write the original score.

No production date has been set.