The Oz: The Great and Powerful actor is to direct and star in the biopic based on the life of Jay Sebring, reports Deadline.
The hairstylist and playboy was a rising star in the '60s and a friend of Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, the Rat Pack and Jim Morrison.
His story was cut short when he was killed by the Manson family at a party of friend and former lover Sharon Tate.
Franco recently produced indie sex documentary Kink and served as co-director on Interior. Leather Bar.
He will next be seen in the Lovelace biopic with Amanda Seyfried, Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great and Powerful and Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers.
Watch the Oz: The Great and Powerful trailer below:
Photo gallery - Oz: The Great and Powerful: