James Franco The Deuce

James Franco to Play Twins in HBO Porn Pilot From The Wire's David Simon

Here’s the coolest sentence you will read all day: HBO has ordered a ’70s-set drama pilot from The Wire creator David Simon about the rise of New York’s sex industry starring James Franco as legendary twin porn kingpins.

Titled The Deuce, the project — which will be directed by Breaking Bad‘s Michelle MacLaren — is a “narrative set in the Times Square demimonde of the 1970s and 1980s… and follows the story of the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world that existed in midtown Manhattan until the rise of HIV, the violence of the cocaine epidemic and the renewed real estate market all ended the bawdy turbulence,” per HBO’s official announcement.

The Deuce — named after 42nd street — is inspired in part by the career of twin brothers (Franco, who will also serve as an EP on the project) who were players in the Times Square world and became fronts for Mob control of the volatile and lucrative sex industry from its origins.

“We’re interested in what it means when profit is the primary metric for what we call society,” says Simon. “In that sense, this story is intended as neither prurient nor puritan. It’s about a product, and those human beings who created, sold, profited from and suffered with that product.”

Simon penned the pilot with his Wire and Treme collaborator George Pelecanos, who had this to say about the potential series: “Porn, prostitution, pimps, the Mob, after-hours nightlife, institutional corruption, and New York in its Wild West heyday…it’s a world rich in character, and a fascinating story we’re eager to tell.”

The pilot is set to go into production in New York later this year, presumably after Franco wraps Season 1 of Hulu’s J.J.Abrams-Stephen King drama series 11/22/63.

HBO, meanwhile, has ordered a second pilot from Simon that’s set in the present-day world of Capitol Hill and details the examination of partisanship and the influence of money on national governance. Carl Bernstein, of Watergate reporting fame, will co-produce along with Ed Burns.