Film is based on Neil Strauss' controversial memoir and seduction guide

By Oliver Gettell
September 07, 2016 at 11:52 PM EDT
Francois G. Durand/Getty Images

James Franco is ready to drop some negs. The eccentric actor and filmmaker is set to play the notorious pickup artist known as Mystery in a big-screen adaptation of The Game, Neil Strauss’ controversial memoir and seduction handbook.

The project was confirmed Wednesday as part of an announcement that Franco and Demian Gregory have partnered to produce four feature films with budgets in the range of $15 million to $20 million. The films will be “talent-driven stories” of various genres, including comedy, thriller, and drama. The Game will be the first to go into production, sometime next year.

Published in 2005, The Game chronicles how Strauss, a once-swagless journalist, learned a systematic — some would say creepy — method of wooing women. Mystery, née Erik Von Markovik, was his mentor and wingman. (Reality TV fans may remember Von Markovik as the host of VH1’s The Pickup Artist.)

In addition to playing Mystery, a role he has circled for several years, Franco will produce The Game alongside Gregory and Vince Jolivette (Spring Breakers). Nicholas Cafritz and Robert Reed Peterson are the executive producers. The filmmakers are currently searching for a director and additional cast members.