One of the most successful Finnish film directors, Dome Karukoski, will direct an authorised biopic about the influential gay artist ‘Tom of Finland’ — the man who inspired the look of Freddie Mercury and the Village People.

The film marks the first time the Tom of Finland Foundation has approved a motion picture about the artist, who has been called the “most influential creator of gay pornographic images.”

He is most noted for his stylised fetish art and his influence on late twentieth century gay culture.

Over the course of four decades he produced almost 3500 illustrations, featuring mostly men with exaggerated muscular bodies in tight or partially removed clothing.

His iconography has inspired top designers and artists such as Tom Ford, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Weber, Freddie Mercury, and the Village People.

The film will be Mr Karukoski’s first English-language feature. He is currently at Toronto screening his latest picture, “Heart of a Lion.”

Casting on the biopic is expected to be announced in 2014.

In March, the Finnish parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted narrowly to reject a bill to legalise equal marriage.

Last year, Pekka Haavisto, the openly gay candidate in Finland’s presidential race, lost his bid to be the first gay president in Europe.