David Simon‘s upcoming HBO series The Deuce is a 1970s New York-set drama about the rise of the porn industry. Who better to be the face of such a project than James Franco and his era-appropriate mustache? Well, hold onto your butts because Franco is pulling double duty in this one, playing a set of twins. His characters have been revealed in new images from the series along with Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s prostitute, Candy.
Franco leads The Deuce as both Vincent Martino, a struggling bartender, and Frankie Martino, his ne’er-do-well brother. The Martinos were key players in Times Square who became involved with the mob by providing fronts for the sex industry’s early days. Franco directed two episodes in the series, one of which “turned out to be the episode with the most twin scenes in the whole season,” Franco said. “Now that I look back, I do think it was pretty crazy.”
Gyllenhaal co-stars as Candy, an entrepreneurial Times Square hooker who is drawn into the fledgling porn industry. “The stereotypes and ideas we have about prostitutes and people who work in porn are too vague,” Gyllenhaal said. “I hope that this show, in a way, shines a bright enough light on a group of people who haven’t had one shone on them.”
Get a good look at Franco, Franco, and Gyllenhaal in new images from The Deuce below (via EW):
Here’s Simon’s take on 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. Gary Carr, Margarita Levieva, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Dominique Fishback and Emily Meade also star. Look for The Deuce to drop this summer.