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James Franco to play twins in HBO porn drama directed by 'Game of Thrones' veteran

‘The Wire’ creator David Simon, ‘Thrones’ director Michelle MacLaren team for HBO pilot

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Are we ready for double Franco? The Pineapple Express and 127 Hours star has signed on to play twin mobsters controlling the Times Square porn scene in the 1970s and ’80s in a promising-sounding new HBO pilot. 

HBO has just greenlit The Deuce, from The Wire creator David Simon and with Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad veteran Michelle MacLaren signed on to direct. The official description: “It follows the story of the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world that existed in midtown Manhattan until the rise of HIV, the violence of the cocaine epidemic and the renewed real estate market all ended the bawdy turbulence.”

Franco will star as twin brothers who were “players in the Times Square world and became fronts for Mob control of the volatile and lucrative sex industry from its origins.”

“We’re interested in what it means when profit is the primary metric for what we call society,” says Simon, who has made five dramas series and miniseries at HBO. “In that sense, this story is intended as neither prurient nor puritan. It’s about a product, and those human beings who created, sold, profited from and suffered with that product.”

The title is a nickname for 42nd Street. George Pelecanos (The Wire), with Richard Price (Clockers) also credited on subsequent scripts.

“Porn, prostitution, pimps, the Mob, after-hours nightlife, institutional corruption, and New York in its Wild West heyday…it’s a world rich in character, and a fascinating story we’re eager to tell,” Pelecanos said.

The project is actually one of two Simon pilots greenlit today. The other is a collaboration between Simon and journalist Carl Bernstein (All the President’s Men) set in the present-day world of Capitol Hill. It’s described as “a detailed examination of partisanship and the influence of money on national governance.” Also attached to the project are Ed Burns, William F. Zorzi, and Nina K. Noble. 

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