SAN SEBASTIAN — Having placed second in Toronto’s People’s Choice Awards, James Franco scored his first big outright win as a director, his “The Disaster Artist” scooping Saturday night the 65th San Sebastián Festival’s Golden Shell, the top plaudit at the highest-profile film event in the Spanish-speaking world.
“This was a family affair, my brother, my sister, my old friend Seth Rogen,” Franco said, accepting the award on stage at San Sebastián.
He added, thanking Warner Bros,: “It’s a very simple film about a crazy man but he had big dreams and it’s better than not having dreams. I hope that in these crazy times this brings a little light and inspiration.”
Described by Variety as “the comedy sensation of SXSW,” James Franco’s uproarious “making-of” satire of 2003’s “The Room,” Tommy Wiseau’s best worst movie of this century, “The Disaster Artist” had already won the Spanish critics’ Feroz Zinemaldia Prize, and was one of the two best-ranked titles on a reviewers’ poll run by El Diario Vasco, a local newspaper.
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|The Disaster Artist
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Just days after its series premiere, HBO has renewed its praised drama series The Deuce for a second season.
Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon and starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, the show chronicles the rise of the porn culture in New York from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s. Titled after the local slang for the city’s fabled 42nd Street, The Deuce explores the rough-and-tumble world of the sex trade from the moment when both a liberalizing cultural revolution in American sexuality and new legal definitions of obscenity created a billion-dollar industry that is now an elemental component of the American cultural landscape. It follows a cast of barkeeps, prostitutes, pimps, police and nightlife denizens as they swirl through a world of sex, crime, high times and violence and the porn business begins its climb from mafia-backed massage parlors and film labs to legitimacy and cultural permanence.
“We are thrilled to continue our creative collaboration with master storytellers David Simon and George Pelecanos,” said Casey Bloys, president HBO programming. “Their unique gift for immersing the audience in their dark and edgy worlds brings a brilliant verisimilitude unlike any other. With the remarkably talented Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco leading an exceptional cast, we look forward to delving deeper as this captivating story evolves.”
Said Simon: “Everyone involved with this project is genuinely grateful to HBO for the chance to take the narrative where it needs to go. We knew the theme and purpose of the story, but there are many people in the entertainment industry who might not have it told — or worse, would have told it for the wrong reasons. HBO is a serious outfit. And they don’t scare.”
Added Pelecanos: “Many thanks to HBO, our longtime partners, who’ve now given us the opportunity to continue to tell this compelling story. We’re ready to get back to work with our amazing cast and crew.”
The Deuce, which began its eight-episode first season Sunday, is executive produced by Pelecanos, Simon, Nina Kostroff Noble and Franco; the pilot was executive produced by Michelle MacLaren, who also directed the pilot and final episode of the first season.
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|The Deuce • TIFF
Cult filmmaker Tommy Wiseau (“The Room”) explains why he agreed to give actor-director James Franco his life rights for “The Disaster Artist” and critiques what Franco got right — and wrong — in his performance as Tommy. The pair stopped by the L.A. Times studio at the Toronto International Film Festival, along with Franco’s brother Dave, who plays Wiseau’s real life friend and “Room” co-star Greg Sestero.
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For James Franco, Thursday night’s premiere of The Deuce—his new HBO drama, which focuses on the porn industry in 1970s New York—marked a milestone. Though Franco has over 100 film and television acting credits to his name, he has never before played two roles—identical twin brothers—in the same project. Franco also directs himself in two episodes of the series, which debuts on September 10, and serves as an executive producer as well.
“This was a dream job. I got to work with the best writers and had a lot of fun playing not only one great role, but two great roles,” Franco told Vanity Fair at the show’s premiere, held at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in New York. “Like anything, playing two roles was a fine line to walk down. We decided we wouldn’t do anything obvious to differentiate them on the surface. So you could only tell them apart by their behavior and their attitudes. As an actor, I learned to really lean on the people around me, the wardrobe department, and especially the writing to differentiate the characters. It was fun, and it’s one of the more meaningful things I’ve done. The principles of the show, like misogyny, are timely and really poignant today.”