James Franco gets first movie role since sexual misconduct allegations

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for IFP

James Franco has been cast in his first role since the whirlwind of sexual misconduct allegations that surrounded him beginning in 2018. Franco will star in the title role of Mace, a new action-thriller from Jon Amiel, director of the acclaimed BBC miniseries The Singing Detective.

In 2018 The Los Angeles Times reported the actor had been accused by five different women of inappropriate or sexually-exploitative behavior in the course of acting as their performance instructor or coach. In addition, two former students of Franco’s now-closed Studio 4 Acting studio filed suit against the actor in October of 2019 for sexual exploitation. The women’s suit was settled outside of court.

Franco’s last major roles were in 2017’s The Disaster Artist and 2018’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, although he has been involved in a disparate collection of production, directing, and voice-over roles since then. Mace will be his first significant starring role in roughly four years.

Franco’s titular character, Mace, is a corrupt veteran officer who is teamed up with young rookie Virgil Woods. Woods believes he can change the corrupted system from within, but soon finds himself in danger of becoming a part of it himself when Mace purposely starts a gang war in their city to serve his own purposes.

According to a statement reported by Deadline, Myriad Picture CEO Kirk D’Amico said,

“We are thrilled to be returning to Cannes with this highly original and unique film. It is a gritty story set in a modern-day police department where nothing is what it seems. We think that this material in the hands of such an experienced director as Jon Amiel will yield extraordinary results.”

D’Amico did not address Franco’s casting in the statement.

Although Amiel earned international acclaim for his direction of The Singing Detective, he has yet to deliver a major picture hit. He’s best known in America for his work on 1999’s Entrapment, featuring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and for the Sci-Fi disaster film, The Core.

Filming on Mace will begin later this year in New Jersey according to Deadline.