Doctor Who star Matt Smith has been cast as subversive photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in a new biopic.

The actor, who previously portrayed Christopher Isherwood in biopic Christopher and his Kind, is set to take on his latest role in award-winning director Ondi Timoner’s biopic, Mapplethorpe.

The photographer rose to fame for his controversial homoerotic and highly sexualised art, as well as documenting New York’s underground BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

According to Deadline, Girls actress Zosia Mamet will play Mapplethorpe’s long-term friend and partner Patti Smith.

The gay photographer died aged 42 of AIDS at the height of the AIDS crisis, in 1989.

Mapplethorpe’s photographs range from relatively tame images of nude men and women to extremely explicit examples of sado-masochism.

Timoner said: “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.

“They will bring indelible passion, raw humanity, and authenticity to this timeless, inspiring story.”

Patti Smith wrote of Mapplethorpe previously: “Robert took areas of dark human consent and made them into art. He worked without apology, investing the homosexual with grandeur, masculinity, and enviable nobility.

“Without affectation, he created a presence that was wholly male without sacrificing feminine grace. He was not looking to make a political statement or an announcement of his evolving sexual persuasion.

“He was presenting something new, something not seen or explored as he saw and explored it.

“Robert sought to elevate aspects of male experience, to imbue homosexuality with mysticism. As Cocteau said of a Genet poem, ‘His obscenity is never obscene’.”