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James Franco is in negotiations to direct the movie “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN” for Focus Features.

The project is based on the 2011 book of the same name by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, which recapped the formation of the sports network, based on interviews with more than 500 people. ESPN was launched in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen and his son Scott as the world’s first 24-hour cable TV network. It saw success by telecasting the early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament and the NFL Draft.

“Halt and Catch Fire” co-creator Christopher C. Rogers has been hired to re-write the script. Miller was tapped to adapt the script in 2015. Michael De Luca, Jamie Patricof, and Julie Yorn are producing the film.

Franco produced, directed, and starred in “The Disaster Artist,” which received strong reviews and earned one Academy Award nomination for adapted screenplay (for Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber).

The news come in the wake of controversy; Franco was accused of inappropriate behavior by five women in January. He denied the allegations.

HBO programming chief Casey Bloys said Wednesday that the network decided to move forward on a second season of “The Deuce,” which Franco stars in and executive producer, after internal discussions and a conversation with producers and cast.

Franco’s directing credits include “In Dubious Battle,” “As I Lay Dying,” and “The Sound and the Fury.” He is starring in the Coen brothers’ Netflix movie “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” which will debut at the Venice Film Festival, and the sci-fi actioner “Kin.” Franco is represented by UTA, Anonymous Content, and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern. Rogers is repped by UTA, Management 360, and Bloom Hergott.

A rep for Focus had no comment about the news, which was first reported by Collider.

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Labels: News

The actor and his The Deuce co-star Chris Bauer recently went undercover at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights to give unsuspecting park goers the fright of a lifetime. Slipping behind-the-scenes of a maze modeled after The Shining, Franco donned a Jack Nicholson mask, red flannel and axe for the big event.

Labels: News

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

Labels: News, The Deuce, upcoming projects

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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Labels: News

James Franco and Seth Rogen are teaming up — this time, behind the camera.

The duo is developing a ’90s teen drama with author and social media personality Kelly Oxford, who is writing the script, Variety has learned exclusively.
The duo is developing a ’90s teen drama with author and social media personality Kelly Oxford, who is writing the script, Variety has learned exclusively.

Franco and Rogen will serve as executive producers on the project that is in early development, along with Franco’s producing partner Vince Jolivette and Rogen’s longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg. The hourlong series is currently untitled. Variety‘s source described the project as a teen show set in the 1990’s.

Funny enough, Franco and Rogen started working together on their own teen series in the ’90s, “Freaks and Geeks,” which was a comedy set in the ’80s.

To date, the pair has worked on a number of films together from “Pineapple Express” to “The Interview” to “This Is the End” and most recently, “The Disaster Artist,” which debuted at SXSW to rave reviews. The Hulu project marks Franco and Rogen’s first series production together, though both are currently at work on separate TV projects — Franco is gearing up for HBO’s upcoming series “The Deuce,” while Rogen and Goldberg are co-creators of AMC’s “Preacher.”

For Oxford, the Hulu project marks her latest TV development, following scripts that landed at CBS and NBC. The writer and blogger first gained recognition from her popularity on Twitter, and then parlayed her following into authoring books. She published her New York Times best-seller “Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar” in 2013, and is days away from releasing her second book, “When You Find Out the World Is Against You.”

UTA reps Franco, Rogen, and Goldberg. Oxford is repped by WME.

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Labels: News

In 1979, Stephen King published The Dead Zone, sci-fi thriller about a man who emerges from a long coma with the sudden power of clairvoyance. Since then, the classic novel has been turned into a 1983 film starring Christopher Walken and 2002 television series.

Now, for the very first time, The Dead Zone will also be available to King fans as an audiobook. What’s more, it’s being narrated by James Franco.

“He’s one of the most pleasurable authors to read or listen to,” Franco told Entertainment Weekly of the legendary author. “He just guides you along so well. Even though we’re from different generations all his influences and things he references and subjects he’s interested in seem to be all the things I’m interested in.”

King, too, is excited about the forthcoming project and Franco’s casting, saying, “I knew that he would perfectly capture the vibe and voice of The Dead Zone.” The Oscar-nominated actor is no stranger to King’s work, as he appeared in 11.22.63, a 2016 limited series based on King’s time traveling book of the same name.

The Dead Zone audiobook will be available come April 25th via Simon and Schuster Audio. In the meantime, subscribe to The Losers’ Club, our Stephen King podcast, for updates and a bi-monthly dissection into King’s body of work.

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Labels: News

The James Franco, directed and produced period piece The Institute, which which he also stars, will be released on March 3 by Momentum Pictures both theatrically and on VOD. The film marks the third collaboration between co-directors Franco and Pamela Romanowsky.

Set in 19th century Baltimore, thee film tells the story of Isabel Porter (Allie Gallerani) who, stricken with grief from her parents’ untimely death, voluntarily checks herself into the Rosewood Institute. Subjected to bizarre and increasingly violent pseudo-scientific experiments in personality modification, brainwashing and mind control, she must escape the clutches of the Rosewood and exact her revenge.

Besides Franco, the film is produced by Vince Jolivette, Jay Davis, Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, and Scott Reed, the film is a production of Rabbit Bandini Productions.

In addition to Gallerani and Franco, the film stars Joe Pease, Scott Haze, Lori Singer, Tim Blake Nelson, Josh Duhamel and Melissa Bolona. Franco previously starred in the Pamela Romanowsky-helmed The Adderall Diaries as well as a short film directed by her entitled Tar.

Franco is represented by UTA and Anonymous Content; Romanowsky is represented by WME; Gallerani is represented by Authentic Talent and Literary Management; Pease is represented by Tilmar Talent Agency; Haze is represented by ICM Partners; Singer is represented by Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein; Nelson is represented by UTA; Duhamel is represented by ICM Partners; Bolona is repped by APA and Atlas Artists. Whew!

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Labels: News, The Institute

James Franco has returned with season 3 of “Making a Scene” and the Emmy-nominated spoof series has found a new home on the forthcoming video service from French startup Blackpills, after AOL carried the first two seasons.

The first two seasons of “Making a Scene with James Franco,” which he directs and stars in, featured mashups of movies (season 1) and TV shows (season 2). For the latest installment, Franco and team decided to create episodes spanning films, music and television. The focus of each episode in season 3 will be randomly determined by a dart board and a spinning wheel, which is one of the show’s trademark elements.

The 10-episode third season includes “Anaconda Scissorhands” (pictured above), a parody fusion of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” and “Edward Scissorhands”; “Famous Potter,” a mashup of Kanye West’s “Famous” with the Harry Potter series; and “Poker Things,” which melds Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” with Netflix original series “Stranger Things.”

“Making a Scene with James Franco” is slated to debut in April on Blackpills, the yet-to-launch video service founded by Deezer cofounder Daniel Marhely and ex-Canal Plus exec Patrick Holzman. Other productions Blackpills has acquired or commissioned include Adaptive Studios’ short-form thriller “Pineapple” and projects from social-media influencer Logan Paul and filmmaker Luc Besson.

Season 3 of the series was produced by INE Entertainment and Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Prods.

“Since we were kids, music videos have been such a big part of pop culture for us,” Vince Jolivette, co-founder of Rabbit Bandini, said in statement. “So it seemed natural for us to take what we’ve been doing with our favorite movies and television shows and apply that same creative madness to some of our favorite, iconic music videos.”

Actors and social-media celebs guest starring in this season include Josh Peck, Juno Temple, Liza Koshy, Brandon Rogers, Toby Turner, Brittany Furlan, Kian Lawley and Lia-Marie Johnson. Shooting on season 3 of “Making a Scene with James Franco” began Dec. 19 in L.A. and wrapped this week.

“Making a Scene with James Franco” was packaged by CAA. Franco is currently repped by UTA.

Season 2 earned a 2016 Emmy Award nomination in the outstanding short-form variety series category. The show is executive produced by Franco, Jolivette and Jay Davis for Rabbit Bandini and Eric Day, Mark Koops and Jennifer Heftler for INE Entertainment.

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Labels: Making a Scene, News

Lifetime has unveiled its latest slate of original movies, and they include not only the return of James Franco but the debut of Viola Davis.

“High School lover,” executive produced by James Franco, stars Franco as the father of a high school student (Paulina Singer) who falls in love with a much older man (François Arnaud). Papa Franco must intervene before the crush turns into a dangerous obsession. Jerell Rosales directs from a script written by Amber Coney (“Mother May I Sleep With Danger?”) and Jessica Dube. “High School Lover” will premiere Feb. 4.

“Britney Ever After,” starring Natasha Bassett as Britney Spears, will cover the pop star’s rise and fall and rise again. It is produced by Asylum Entertainment for Lifetime. Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch and Joan Harrison are executive producers. Leslie Libman (“Manson’s Lost Girls”) directs from a script from Anne-Marie Hess. “Britney Ever After” will debut Feb. 18.

“Custody,” executive produced by Viola Davis and starring Davis, Hayden Panettiere, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ellen Burstyn, and Tony Shaloub, premieres Mar. 4. The story revolves around three women who are brought together when a hard-working single mother (Moreno) has her children taken away from her. Panettiere plays the recent law school grad charged with representing the mother, while Davis plays the judge on the case.

“Custody” is written and directed by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine (Into the Woods). Lauren Versel, Katie Mustard, Lapine and Roy Furman serve as producers. Davis, Julius Tennon, Jeff Elliott, Chad Moore, Gregory P. Shockro, Daryl Roth and Sandy Robertson also executive produce.

Biopic “Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland” will begin shooting in February, starring Michael Jackson tribute artist Navi. Based on the book “Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days,” the film also stars Chad L. Coleman as Jackson’s bodyguard. The film is produced by Silver Screen. Dianne Houston is directing from a script written by Elizabeth Hunter (“Beauty Shop”).

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Labels: News

Never one to shy away from controversy, James Franco takes on the ex-gay movement in his next release. Directed by Justin Kelly, I Am Michael recounts the true story of Michael Glatze, a prominent gay activist who made headlines when he suddenly announced that he was renouncing his homosexuality, and went on to marry a woman and become a fundamentalist pastor.

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Labels: I Am Michael, News