While filming The Disaster Artist — the comedy about the making of the infamously terrible 2003 movie, The Room — star and director James Franco stayed in character as Tommy Wiseau for the entirety of the shoot.
For the uninitiated, Wiseau has a distractingly eccentric personality, shoulder-length black hair, a vaguely Eastern European affectation and a style of dress akin to the frontman in an AC/DC cover band.
“I couldn’t deal with it, straight up, for the first two days,” remembers co-star and producer Seth Rogen. “People would come up and ask me, ‘Where’s James?’ And I was always like, ‘He’s right fucking there!'”
Franco and Rogen, along with co-star Dave Franco, spoke after a packed Saturday night screening at the DGA. The Disaster Artist, which is set to be released by A24 on Dec. 1, first premiered to rave reviews in March at SXSW before screening last month at the Toronto International Film Festival. Now, the comedy about one of the notoriously worst movies ever made is gaining early awards buzz.
“My grandmother came out and she just did not get what the fuck was happening,” Rogen said. “She was walking around like, ‘I thought James was in the movie?’ I never explained it to her.”
But James Franco was not Wiseau’s first choice to portray him in the movie.
“I was his second choice,” Franco said. The first choice? “He wanted Johnny Depp.”
When asked about how he came to understand Wiseau as a character, Franco said, “I think Tommy really thinks he is James Dean.”
Franco played the legendary actor in Mark Rydell’s 2001 telepic James Dean and said his preparation to play Dean was the same process he employed to play Wiseau — he would watch their work, religiously.
Added Franco, “But The Room is a little different than East of Eden.”
Category: The Deuce
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.
“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.
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.”
HBO has released the first video and confirmed the premiere date for porn industry drama The Deuce. Starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, the drama created by George Pelecanos and The Wire creator David Simon, will debut on September 10 at 9 PM on HBO.
he Deuce follows the story of the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world at the pioneering moments of what would become the billion-dollar American sex industry. Pelecanos, Simon, Franco and Nina K. Noble executive produce.
Debuting this summer, the new series from David Simon and George Pelecanos (The Wire, Treme) examines life in Times Square before M&M’s World and those over-aggressive Elmos invaded, when porn was a burgeoning business—and an attractive one to people like Franco’s mustachioed alter egos.
If this whole thing is beginning to sound like another “Franco being Franco” joke, it’s worth mentioning that the 38-year-old also directs this particular episode (and one other). “That turned out to be the episode with the most twin scenes in the whole season,” Franco says months later. “Now that I look back, I do think it was pretty crazy.”
We haven’t heard much of anything about the James Franco-starring The Deuce except for the fact that it is, well, coming. Good thing, then, that HBO announced at the TCA press tour that we can finally expect The Deuce in 2017. We will unfortunately have to wait a bit longer on the details, but such is life.
The Deuce is a new show from David Simon, best known as the creator of The Wire. Simon also went on to helm Treme, which hasn’t garnered as much attention as the former but is very much worth a watch. This new venture will star James Franco as both Vincent and Frankie Martino, brothers that end up working with the mafia in New York City. But the series is actually about the rise of porn in and around the Times Square area in the 70’s and 80’s.
The pilot was actually filmed back in 2015. That fine; it takes time to build quality. The Deuce will also star Maggie Gyllenhaal as Ellen “Candy” Merrell,” a sex worker in the Times Square area. That’s already a strong cast. For what it’s worth, Ewan McGregor will star in the third season of Fargo this year, also playing two brothers. It’s going to be an interesting year.
Simon has been working with George Pelecanos, his usual partner. We expect great things from anything David Simon is involved with, and The Deuce is no different. While we don’t know exactly when it’s going to premiere, we can safely say that it won’t be coming this winter, or likely in the spring. The will be a second half to year show, or possibly at the end. Either way, we’re excited to see just how weird James Franco can get with this. And for other things, of course.