James Franco, who we've come to know and love as an actor who defies expectations, is eying a role as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (after being initially offered the lead of Chuck Traynor) in "Lovelace," Variety reports. If the deal goes through it would reunite Franco with his "Howl" directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. He would be joining a cast that already includes Amanda Seyfried (as the famous "Deep Throat" porn star Linda Lovelace), Peter Sargaard (because whereever there's a weird movie about sex, Sarsgaard can be found) and a host of new cast members who have recently signed on.
The trade is also reporting that several new high profile cast members have joined the project, including Hank Azaria, Bobby Cannavale, Chris Noth, and Mr.T-1000 himself, Robert Patrick. Azaria will play "Deep Throat" writer-director Jerry Damiano, Cannavale and Noth will play financiers Butchie Peraino and Anthony Romano, who, according to Variety, "go into business with Linda's pornographer husband Traynor (Sargaard) after he shows them a home movie of her special skill." Amazing. Patrick will play the less-showy role of Linda's father John Boreman, who initially facilitates the film and who afterwards becomes ashamed.
As for Franco, he'll only be on the movie for a single day, playing Hefner as he welcomes Linda to the Playboy Mansion for a private screening of "Deep Throat" and talks to the actress about her future (Lovelace posed nude for the February 1975 issue of the magazine). Production on the project (which also includes performances by Sharon Stone, Juno Temple, and Wes Bentley) began today, in the most sexy way possible.
If you're interested in the subject and can't wait for "Lovelace," we strong recommend checking out Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato's dynamic documentary "Inside Deep Throat." It's fascinating stuff, and while the cast and creative team do sound intriguing, we're wondering how it can get any stranger than what happened in real life. And oh yeah, in related Franco news, his latest directorial outing "The Broken Tower" about poet Hart Crane will serve as the inaugural film of Focus Features' digital distribution arm, hitting your favorite device on January 10, 2012.