Former 'Doctor Who' star Matt Smith is set to play controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in a biopic, reports claim.

Last year, one of Mapplethorpe’s images sold for nearly half a million dollars

‘Matt Smith, best known for playing Doctor Who in the iconic BBC series, is taking on another larger-than-life figure,’ reports entertainment website Deadline Hollywood.

‘He has landed the lead role as avant-garde photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in a biopic titled Mapplethorpe…’

Born in New York in 1946, Mapplethorpe acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 to take photos for inclusion in collages.

He went on to shoot portraits of friends and acquaintances using a Hasselblad – his subjects including artists, musicians and porn film stars.

Last year, one of Mapplethorpe’s images sold for nearly half a million dollars at an auction in New York, shattering its presale estimate.

The ‘Man in Polyester Suit’ – showing a man with his penis exposed – was impounded by customs officials in London ahead of an exhibition in 1983.

The contentious photo fetched $478,000 (around £312,000) at Sotheby’s – easily surpassing its presale estimate of $250,000-$300,000.

The rare, signed 18x14in print was created in 1980 at the height of Mapplethorpe’s career.

The movie about his life will reportedly be directed by Ondi Timoner.