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New Line Cinema has revealed an image from this year’s upcoming The Disaster Artist, an adaptation of the novel of the same name detailing the troubled production of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, which often gets labelled as the worst movie ever made. The image gives us a first look at James Franco as the titular disaster artist Wiseau, along with his brother Dave Franco, who is playing Greg Sestero, a real-life friend of Wiseau who played Mark in The Room.

The Disaster Artist is set to have its world premiere at the SXSW film festival next month. The star-studded cast of the film also includes Seth Rogen (The Night Before), Zac Efron (Neighbors), Kate Upton (The Other Woman), Ari Graynor (The Sopranos), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), Andrew Santino (Sin City Saints), Hannibal Buress (Neighbors), Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2), and a cameo from Tommy Wiseau himself.

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In the upcoming psychological thriller The Institute, James Franco portrays a 19th-century doctor with some unconventional ideas about wellness. And unfortunately for his newest patient, the cure might be worse than the ailment.

EW has an exclusive look at the film’s trailer, which opens with a grief-stricken young woman named Isabel Porter (Allie Gallerani) checking herself into the Rosewood Institute after her parents’ untimely death. She soon encounters the charismatic but slightly creepy Dr. Cairnes (Franco), who makes her a tempting promise.

“I can give you the freedom you desire,” he says, “but you will need to trust my methods — unorthodox though they may seem.”

Beginning with an exploration of pain, which the good doctor calls “the most primitive of feelings,” his experiments spiral into brainwashing, obsession, and violence.

Franco co-directed The Institute, which opens March 3, with Pamela Romanowsky. The cast also includes Eric Roberts, Tim Blake Nelson, and Lori Singer.

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James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist” has been set for a “work in progress” premiere the upcoming South by Southwest film Festival.

SXSW made the announcement Tuesday. Franco directed “The Disaster Artist,” based on the making of Tommy Wiseau’s incomprehensible “The Room,” which some describe as the “’Citizen Kane’ of bad movies.” Franco also stars along with sibling Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Josh Hutcherson, Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver and Alison Brie.
The program is also attempting to set up a screening of the original “The Room,” which first screened in 2003.

The festival, which is heading into its 24th year, will open March 10 in Austin with the previously announced Terrence Malick movie “Song to Song” with Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman. It announced most of the lineup a week ago, including world premieres of “Baby Driver” and “The Ballad of Lefty Brown.”

The new announcement includes the SXSW Midnighters section of 10 genre films, including eight world premieres plus nine other new movies, bringing the total to 128.

“In this current political climate, genre filmmakers are more necessary than ever,” said Jarod Neece, SXSW Senior Film Programmer. “They give us the chance to escape the horrors in our daily lives and spend some time in the dark, hallowed halls of the cinema. This year’s batch of Midnighters span the gamut of splatter horror, dark comedy, revenge, and satire, and explore mortality, sociopathy and survival.”

SXSW has also launched a new Virtual Reality section with 38 projects that emphasize storytelling and ingenuity as a showcase how other industries are embracing the medium.

SXSW Conference announced separately a new keynotes, featured speakers and sessions. They include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Senator Cory Booker, actress Julia-Louis Dreyfus and the cast of “Veep,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis, Fleetwood Mac namesake Mick Fleetwood, pop singer and songwriter Kesha, actor Bob Odenkirk, WWE star John Cena, Nick Denton and Jeff Goodby. Previously announced speakers include Lee Daniels, Gareth Edwards, Jill Soloway, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

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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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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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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.

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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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Say what you will about James Franco, you can’t deny he isn’t a prolific artist. With a metric ton of projects that are either ongoing or announced, Franco has enough work to keep him busy for the next half a century. And like any actor-director, he has his favored collaborators, and he’s just announced that Bryan Cranston will play a younger version of himself for their third collaboration together.

Speaking with the South China Morning Post, Franco revealed that Cranston had agreed to star in Franco’s The Masterpiece.

It took eight months for [Why Him?] to go ahead and I asked Bryan to play Sheriff in In Dubious Battle, and then I directed The Masterpiece and he did that too. I asked if he would play himself, and he actually plays a version of himself from the early 2000s, so it’s Bryan Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle. It just speaks to his love of cinema that he supports his fellow artists.

Franco also mentioned that he appreciated Cranston’s ability as a comedic actor and felt like he hadn’t been able to flex those muscles since Breaking Bad.

After Breaking Bad, I think people had forgotten how Bryan is this great comedic actor – as that’s what he did for years and years,” Franco says of the former Malcolm in the Middle star. “When we were filming Why Him?, Bryan said to me, ‘This is the most fun I’ve had in a decade.’ So I found him to be a strong comedic and improvisational partner like Seth, in his own way. He could fly with anything.

He’s absolutely right about Cranston’s comedic chops, and while Why Him? isn’t doing as great as either of them had probably hoped, it’s good to see Cranston having a little fun again. Who knows, maybe The Masterpiece will actually be a masterpiece.

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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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