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.

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10 Comments
  1. James says:

    Has HBO already decided when to cancel both of these shows?

    • manupf says:

      like HBO ever canceles a freshman show in its first season. barely ever

    • Geo says:

      Not likely. HBO loves David Simon (thank God). The Wire was usually very low-rated (it’s status as a classic really came after the show ended), but HBO let Simon play out all the seasons he’d envisioned. And even though the ratings for Treme were incredibly low, HBO didn’t cancel it outright before giving Simon a short but fresh batch of episodes to wrap up the story. Between series, HBO has worked with Simon on several mini-series. HBO has made it clear that with Simon, at least, they’re not going to cancel anything out from under us without letting him offer some kind of end to the story. They seem to really respect him, so it’s a pretty safe bet to jump into any new Simon series.

  2. Timot says:

    I think that having a show covering the late 70s, and early 80s will be great ! I also think that James Francois a outstanding actor! There were so many different things happening during that time! Porn, oraganized crime, and a massive battle over real estate.! There is a lot of material. To mine from. I am very much looking forward to see how it is pulled off!

  3. I/O says:

    It’s not the coolest sentence I’ll read. They mention that overrated, pretentious, predatory hack that is James Franco

  4. mari johnson says:

    If we can get another show as good as the wire, it would be great

  5. Becky says:

    I loved both The Wire (my all time favorite) and Treme, but this sounds bad. What an awful ‘world’ to view each week. Sounds like James Franco will fit right in, though. He’s always seemed kind of ‘icky’ to me.

  6. Except for the Spiderman trilogy, I’m not a fan of James Franco. I do wish him luck.