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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?

Sources


James Franco is coming on board “Alien: Covenant,” the sequel to Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.”

He joins Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, and Guy Pearce — who are reprising their roles from “Prometheus” — along with newcomers Katherine Waterston, Demian Bichir, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride. 20th Century Fox had no comment.

Scott is directing from a script by Jack Paglen, Michael Green, and John Logan. The film follows the colony ship Covenant as it heads toward a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy. Crew members discover what they believe to be an uncharted paradise, which turns out to be a dark, menacing world in which the only inhabitant is the synthetic David (Fassbender), a survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

The film is the sixth in Scott’s “Alien” franchise and arrives in theaters on May 19, 2017. Fox originally planned to release the movie in August, but decided several months ago to move it forward three months.

“Prometheus” was set in the late 21st Century and about 30 years before the events in Scott’s 1979 movie “Alien.” “Prometheus,” which generated $403.3 million at the worldwide box office, followed scientists aboard the spaceship Prometheus who discovered the remains of an advanced civilization developing weapons that could wipe out the human race.

The original “Alien,” starring Sigourney Weaver, was followed by three sequels in 1986, 1992, and 1997.

Franco is currently starring in Fox’s “Why Him?” opposite Bryan Cranston. The comedy opens this Friday.

Sources