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Just days after its series premiere, HBO has renewed its praised drama series The Deuce for a second season.

Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon and starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, the show chronicles the rise of the porn culture in New York from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s. Titled after the local slang for the city’s fabled 42nd Street, The Deuce explores the rough-and-tumble world of the sex trade from the moment when both a liberalizing cultural revolution in American sexuality and new legal definitions of obscenity created a billion-dollar industry that is now an elemental component of the American cultural landscape. It follows a cast of barkeeps, prostitutes, pimps, police and nightlife denizens as they swirl through a world of sex, crime, high times and violence and the porn business begins its climb from mafia-backed massage parlors and film labs to legitimacy and cultural permanence.

From HBO
“We are thrilled to continue our creative collaboration with master storytellers David Simon and George Pelecanos,” said Casey Bloys, president HBO programming. “Their unique gift for immersing the audience in their dark and edgy worlds brings a brilliant verisimilitude unlike any other. With the remarkably talented Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco leading an exceptional cast, we look forward to delving deeper as this captivating story evolves.”

Said Simon: “Everyone involved with this project is genuinely grateful to HBO for the chance to take the narrative where it needs to go. We knew the theme and purpose of the story, but there are many people in the entertainment industry who might not have it told — or worse, would have told it for the wrong reasons. HBO is a serious outfit. And they don’t scare.”

Added Pelecanos: “Many thanks to HBO, our longtime partners, who’ve now given us the opportunity to continue to tell this compelling story. We’re ready to get back to work with our amazing cast and crew.”

The Deuce, which began its eight-episode first season Sunday, is executive produced by Pelecanos, Simon, Nina Kostroff Noble and Franco; the pilot was executive produced by Michelle MacLaren, who also directed the pilot and final episode of the first season.

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Cult filmmaker Tommy Wiseau (“The Room”) explains why he agreed to give actor-director James Franco his life rights for “The Disaster Artist” and critiques what Franco got right — and wrong — in his performance as Tommy. The pair stopped by the L.A. Times studio at the Toronto International Film Festival, along with Franco’s brother Dave, who plays Wiseau’s real life friend and “Room” co-star Greg Sestero.



James Franco talks about his experience playing twins in his HBO series The Deuce and how embarrassingly psyched he was to act opposite himself.


For James Franco, Thursday night’s premiere of The Deuce—his new HBO drama, which focuses on the porn industry in 1970s New York—marked a milestone. Though Franco has over 100 film and television acting credits to his name, he has never before played two roles—identical twin brothers—in the same project. Franco also directs himself in two episodes of the series, which debuts on September 10, and serves as an executive producer as well.

“This was a dream job. I got to work with the best writers and had a lot of fun playing not only one great role, but two great roles,” Franco told Vanity Fair at the show’s premiere, held at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in New York. “Like anything, playing two roles was a fine line to walk down. We decided we wouldn’t do anything obvious to differentiate them on the surface. So you could only tell them apart by their behavior and their attitudes. As an actor, I learned to really lean on the people around me, the wardrobe department, and especially the writing to differentiate the characters. It was fun, and it’s one of the more meaningful things I’ve done. The principles of the show, like misogyny, are timely and really poignant today.”

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The Vault stars Francesca Eastwood (Final Girl) and Taryn Manning (Hustle & Flow, Orange Is the New Black) as estranged sisters, who are forced to rob a bank in order to save their troubled brother, played by Scott Haze (Child of God). The heist begins smoothly, but mayhem ensues when the defiant bank manager (Franco) sends them to a basement-level vault, which, it turns out, is home to something truly evil.

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The Coen Brothers’ anticipated six-episode Western anthology series The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is reportedly close to casting James Franco for what sounds like a very James Franco role. According to the Tracking Board, Franco will star opposite Ralph Ineson and Stephen Root in the “Near Algodones” installment, playing “a high-plains drifter whose own fecklessness dogs his attempts at bank robbery and cattle driving.” (Others cast in the series include Tim Blake Nelson, Tyne Daly, and Zoe Kazan.) Setting aside the wonderful image of James Franco haplessly herding cattle for a moment — let’s hope he hasn’t shaved that ’70s mustache just yet — the news comes on the heels of Franco completing filming on about a dozen other projects that are awaiting release, including David Simon’s HBO drama The Deuce and his own (apparently quite good) film The Disaster Artist, based on the making of The Room. So to keep track: Within the next year or so, we’ll see Franco immerse himself in the world of ’70s porn, re-create the bizarre accent of Tommy Wiseau — he at least got some extra practice on that one — and play a feckless drifter under the direction of the Coens. Dare to predict what’s next?

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Saturday will mark the 21st anniversary of the Spice Girls’ hit debut single “Wannabe” and to celebrate Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Milo Ventimiglia and more have delivered a dramatic reading of its lyrics in a new video.

In a new clip for W magazine — who also include Keri Russell, Riz Ahmed, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Jodie Comer, Rupert Friend, Sanaa Lathan, Claire Foy, Johnny Flynn and Brit Marling — the actors each offer up different takes on the song. While Kidman, Ventimiglia and Skarsgard try to get in character for the ridiculous task, other such as Stranger Things’ Brown just go into full-on party mode.

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