HBO’s “The Deuce” is gearing up for production on Season 2 with James Franco remaining as star and executive producer following sexual harassment allegations made against him earlier this year. Variety reports production on new episodes will begin soon and that Franco’s storyline as brothers Frankie and Vincent Martino is “integral to the plot” in Season 2. The writers have reportedly not made alternate plans for the show should Franco be dropped from the series.
The Los Angeles Times published a report on January 11 in which five women went on record accusing Franco of sexually inappropriate and exploitative behavior. Four of the accusers are Franco’s former acting students. The majority of the accusations allege Franco pressured women into appearing nude on film sets. One women accused Franco of pressuring her into performing oral sex on him while sitting in her car in 2016.
Franco has not commented on the allegations outside of appearances on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” He has called the accusations “not accurate” and told Seth Meyers that he wasn’t going to “actively refute” them since he felt every woman should be able to share her story.
Shortly after the allegations were made, “The Deuce” creator David Simon told Variety that Franco never acted inappropriately on set. Simon said he had checked with the show’s producers to make sure there was never any complaints against Franco during the filming of Season 1.
“I can only speak knowledgeably to ‘The Deuce,'” Simon said. I’ve checked with all my fellow producers and other personnel. We have no complainant or complaint or any awareness of any incident of concern involving Mr. Franco. Nor has HBO been approached with any complaint.”
As Variety notes, HBO dropped older series and comedy specials starring Louis C.K. from its VOD platforms after he was accused of sexual misconduct last fall. The premium cable network also dropped Mark Halperin’s Donald Trump miniseries from development after he was accused of harassment by numerous women.