HBO Orders David Simon’s Porn Drama with James Franco to Series

     January 19, 2016

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Just over two years after the end of his drama series Treme, writer/producer David Simon now has a new show firmly a “go” at HBO. The creator and showrunner of The Wire, one of the greatest pieces of television in history, began developing a 1970s New York-set drama series about the rise of the porn industry last year called The Deuce. HBO found the idea intriguing enough to order a pilot, and now that the pay cable network has gotten a look at the first episode, they’re firmly ready to put this thing on the air.

As if he has nothing else to do, James Franco leads The Deuce in dual roles as twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino, who were key players in the Times Square world and became involved with the Mob as fronts for the lucrative sex industry’s origins. Maggie Gyllenhaal co-stars as Candy, a Times Square hooker “with an entrepreneurial bent who is drawn into the fledgling porn industry.” The series itself aims to track the rise of porn in Times Square from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s and explores the rough-and-tumble world that existed there until the rise of HIV, the violence of the cocaine epidemic and the renewed real estate market all ended the bawdy turbulence.


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Image via HBO

Breaking Bad veteran, Game of Thrones helmer, and one-time Wonder Woman director Michelle MacLaren was at the helm of the pilot for The Deuce, and while HBO is no doubt happy to have such a nudity-friendly series as part of its upcoming arsenal, Simon previously told us that his goal is to toe a very fine line with regards to the inherent salaciousness of the material:

“If it works, it will not be because it’s prurient. It will not be making porn to critique porn. And it won’t work because it’s puritan and sneering at the people that were there when that industry came together after the Supreme Court made it legal. It will work because it’s a story about human beings, and it’s a critique of market capitalism. That’s the purpose of the piece. It’s a product that didn’t exist, and then it existed. What happened to the human beings that made it come to be, and what was the cost of that? If we can affect that and stay on that fence, and not be either sneering at it or indulgent in it, it will be a worthwhile piece. If we don’t, then God help us.“

Simon wrote the series alongside George Pelecanos and Richard Price, and he executive produces the show with Nina Noble and MacLaren. Franco also has an executive producer credit on the series, while Gyllenhaal will be credited as a producer. Gary Carr, Margarita Levieva, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Dominique Fishback and Emily Meade also star.

No word on how soon The Deuce will air, but if production on the rest of the episodes begins in the next few months, it’s possible we could see a late fall or winter debut. The show joins Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, and new series Vinyl and Westworld as HBO’s only original dramas at the moment.

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Image via Fox Searchlight


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