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James Franco Closes Deal To Helm ’80s Romance The Pretenders

According to The Hollywood Reporter, James Franco has signed on to direct The Pretenders, an upcoming romantic drama set in the 1980s.


When including documentaries and eccentric shorts, James Franco’s directing slate has been a fairly busy state of affairs since 2010, when the prolific writer-actor-director was busy helming the likes of Masculinity & Me and My Own Private River.

Fast forward some six years and change and Franco has been gobbling up directing gigs as if they’re going out of fashion, and The Hollywood Reporter now brings word of another. It’s called The Pretenders, an 80s-set romantic drama that takes place in New York City. Boasting a script from The Fault in Our Stars helmer Josh Boone, Franco’s new creative venture has already cast three rising stars to headline the period pic: Jack Kilmer, Shameik Moore and Don’t Breathe actress Jane Levy.

With Brian Cox and Juno Temple also on board, THR reveals that The Pretenders is set to tell the tale of a decade-spanning love triangle between two long-time college friends who fall in love with the same girl. It sets the scene for a “very unique love story,” apparently, though with someone of Boone’s calibre attached to write the script – one that has been doing the rounds since 2013 – we’re inclined to give this one the benefit of the doubt for now.

There’s currently no mention of when The Pretenders will begin filming, though Franco’s busy schedule will likely have a bearing on the project’s timeline one way or another. Fresh off backwoods thriller Burn Country (look for that one to arrive Stateside on December 9), James Franco will next be seen in front of the cameras for true-life drama The Masterpiece, which will chronicle the disastrous and by-now infamous production of The Room.

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Michael Briers