James Franco has been cast in his first role since the whirlwind of sexual misconduct allegations that surrounded him beginning in 2018. Franco will star in the title role of Mace, a new action thriller from Jon Amiel, director of the acclaimed BBC miniseries The singing detective
In 2018, Los Angeles Times reported that the actor had been accused by five different women of inappropriate behavior or sexual exploitation in the course of his performance as an acting instructor or coach.
In addition, two former participants of the now closed study Studio 4 Acting de Franco filed a lawsuit against the actor in October 2019 for sexual exploitation. The women’s lawsuit was settled out of court.
Franco’s last major roles were in Disaster Artist of 2017 and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs 2018, although he has been involved in a disparate collection of producing, directing, and dubbing roles since then. Mace will be his first significant leading role in approximately four years.
The main character of Frank, mace, is a corrupt veteran officer who teams up with young rookie Virgil Woods. Woods believes he can change the corrupt system from within, but soon finds himself in danger of becoming a part of it himself when Mace deliberately starts a gang war in his town to serve his own purposes.
According to a statement reported by Deadline, Myriad Picture CEO Kirk D’Amico said:
“We are delighted to return to Cannes with such an original and unique film. It’s a gritty story set in a modern police department where nothing is as it seems. We believe that this material in the hands of a director as experienced as Jon Amiel will give extraordinary results”.
D’Amico did not refer to Franco’s casting in the statement.
Though Amiel earned international acclaim for his direction of The Singing Detective, he has yet to deliver a major motion picture hit. He is best known in the United States for his work in 1999’s Entrapment, with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and for the sci-fi disaster film The Core.
Filming for Mace will begin later this year in New Jersey according to Deadline.