James Franco is set to star alongside James Franco’s favorite creative genius, James Franco, in the new HBO series The Deuce. The show, by The Wire and Treme creator David Simon, depicts the rise of the porn industry in the 1970s, with plans to begin in the early 70s and, if the series proves popular, end in the mid-1980s. It’ll explore the beginnings of HIV, the effects of drug epidemics and the start of gentrification in the city.
Franco is playing extremely mustachioed twins Vincent and Frankie, low-level mob gophers who recognize that there’s money to be made in skin flicks and begin an inexorable rise to the top of their industry. Typically for Hollywood’s greatest polymath, Franco’s involvement with the project doesn’t end with him merely appearing in it (twice), as he’s also directing two episodes of the show.
You might note that I sound a bit Franco’d out. Well, I am. I recently had the misfortune to sit through his stodgy, slow-moving strike drama In Dubious Battle, which used up just about the last of my James Franco goodwill. Still, this is a David Simon project, so you’d imagine there’s at least some level of quality control present. Then again, two James Francos is one more than I think I can deal with right now.
The show also features Maggie Gyllenhaal in hotpants as an entrepreneuring Times Square sex worker, with the actress commenting that “the stereotypes we have about prostitutes and people who work in porn are too vague. I hope that this show, in a way, shines a bright enough light on a group of people who haven’t had one shone on them.”
Maybe someone should lend her a copy of Boogie Nights?