James Franco is headed back to the big screen. He’s been cast in Billie August’s upcoming post-World War II drama Me, You, opposite Tom Hollander and Daisy Jacob, THR reports. The announcement marks an acting comeback for Franco, following sexual misconduct allegations made against him in 2018 and 2019. The actor currently has three other projects in various production stages.
Me, You is an adaptation of Erri De Luca’s novel Tu, Mia. The film follows the story of 16-year-old boy Marcos, who is vacationing with his parents, when he meets 20-year-old Caia (played by Jacob). As Caia opens up to Marco, revealing a painful past, Marcos grows fond of Caia, falling in love. Franco has been cast as fisherman Nicola, who takes Marco under his wing and shares “his wounded tales of the sea and the war following his military service as a U.S. GI.” Hollander will play Marco’s father, Edward.
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Me, You is directed by August, whose previous credits include Pelle the Conqueror and The House of the Spirits. The screenplay has been penned by Greg Latter. The film is produced by Brilliant Pictures’ Sean O’Kelly and Marc Bikindou, and Cristaldi Pics’ Mark Hammond, with Jad Ben Ammar and Leo Maidenberg serving as co-producers. No release date is yet known for Me, You but principal photography is set to begin in Ischia this September.
Franco’s last on-screen appearances took place during 2019, for HBO’s The Deuce and Zeroville, which Franco also directed. Both were filmed prior to the sexual misconduct allegations.
Franco Steps Back from Film
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Franco took a step back from acting when, beginning in 2018, multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. The following year, students from Franco’s Studio 4 film and acting school filed a lawsuit against Franco and his partners for pushing students to perform explicit scenes on camera. The school has since closed and Franco and partners paid over $2 million to settle the lawsuit.
Following the allegations Franco has stayed out of the spotlight, but did speak about the issue during an interview with Jess Cagle on SiriusXM.
“Over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students, and that was wrong. But like I said, it’s not why I started the school and I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a ‘master plan’ on my part. But yes, there were certain instances where, you know what, I was in a consensual thing with a student and I shouldn’t have been,” Franco said.
Seth Rogen, who shared a close friendship with Franco and appeared on multiple films and the cult classic series Freaks and Geeks alongside Franco, publicly condemned any abuse and severed professional ties with Franco. Regarding their friendship, Rogen told The Times:
“I don’t know if I can define [the status of the friendship] right now during this interview. I can say it, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”