BySean Gallen, writer at
The pen is mightier than the sword but is ultimately useless in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Filmmaker, filmlover, MP staff writer.
Sean Gallen

Last time we saw James Franco in the spotlight was for Hulu's sci-fi series penned by Stephen King, 11/22/63, a sleek period thriller that explored the consequences of time travel. Ever since then he has been deep in his own work as a director in the indie film world, working on several different projects at once. His new releases, which he also acts in, will come in waves and start hitting screens nationwide — along with some selected releases — soon. We'll take a look at his eclectic work as he jumps from his indie projects to his big blockbuster releases.

1. Zeroville - Release Date: TBA

  • Status: Completed
  • Director: James Franco
  • Also Starring: Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride

Based on the 2007 novel by Steve Erickson of the same name, Zeroville takes place in 1969 Hollywood and tells the tale of Vikar, a young cinephile who starts as a set builder for the studios but climbs the ladder to become part of some of the classics of the era such as Jaws and Apocalypse Now. Franco is both director and main star, and has wrangled in some of his friends to assembling an amazing cast with the likes of Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride and his brother Dave Franco all taking lead roles. Shooting began in October 2014 and wrapped shortly after, but it seems they had trouble finding distribution until independent giant Alchemy swooped in to get the rights. The end result is chock full of amazing references and special cameos (check out Wim Wenders in the trailer!), and is set to follow in the footsteps of Hail, Caesar! as a love letter to the incendiary scene of late '60s Hollywood.

2. The Masterpiece - Release Date: TBA

Tommy Wiseau likes what he sees!
Tommy Wiseau likes what he sees!
  • Status: Post-Production
  • Director: James Franco
  • Also starring: Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Alison Brie

Franco has never been shy about adapting great works. Having tackled William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy already, he has now sunk his teeth into Tommy Wiseau's cult-classic The Room. Described by many as the "Citizen Kane of bad movies," The Room is so full of bizarre dialogue, questionable editing and asinine plot twists that it has become the essential guide of how not to make a good movie. Once again, Franco has enlisted his brother and Seth Rogen (also throwing Zac Efron and Alison Brie, both perfect fits, into the mix) to bring the story to life, using the tell-all biography by one of the stars of The Room as a window into how the infamous film was made.

Check out the best moments from The Room below:

3. Why Him? - Release Date: December 25, 2016

Game Over for James Franco/Fox
Game Over for James Franco/Fox
  • Status: Completed, Nationwide release
  • Director: John Hamburg
  • Also starring: Bryan Cranston, Megan Mullaly, Zoey Deutch

Why Him? is all about Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullaly as doting parents who are meeting their daughter's boyfriend for the first time over the Christmas holidays. Franco plays the over-sharing, eccentric internet billionaire who is trying to get his future parents-in-law to like him. The chemistry between Cranston and Franco is irresistible as the limits of good taste and personal boundaries are tested. Franco hasn't turned his back on blockbuster comedies yet and Why Him? is looking fierce with an amazing cast, a script penned by Jonah Hill, and John Hamburg directing (who also directed I Love You, Man).

See Also:

4. The Deuce - Release Date: Fall 2017

Franco gets down to business in the pilot/HBO
Franco gets down to business in the pilot/HBO
  • Status: Post-production
  • Director: Various
  • Also Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Carr, Margarita Levieva

Frequently regarded as one of the best television shows ever, The Wire was created by David Simon, a former crime journalist, and the show captured the endless network of crime in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Simon is teaming up with prolific crime writer George Pelecanos for The Deuce, an eight-episode true-crime series that explores the prostitution and sex industry that was taking over New York in the '70s and '80s. James Franco is one of the main stars, playing two twin brothers who operate outside Times Square as a front for the mob. The HBO mini-saga will also star Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Carr and Margarita Levieva . Franco is a perfect fit for Simon's gritty, realist style and it will be see interesting to how he fits into this sprawling crime epic.

5. In Dubious Battle - Release Date: TBA

Franco has the Venice Film Festival in his sights
Franco has the Venice Film Festival in his sights
  • Status: Completed, Festival run
  • Director: James Franco
  • Also starring: Selena Gomez, Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston, Robert Duvall

Having already tucked William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy adaptations under his belt, Franco has set his eyes on In Dubious Battle, a lesser known novel by John Steinbeck. The story is set in California during the '30s, where an activist gets caught in the middle of the conflict between the labor movement of farm workers and their employers. Once again, a very attractive, eclectic cast has gravitated around Franco with Selena Gomez, Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston and the legendary Robert Duvall all playing key roles. The film is gathering steam and will premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 3rd, and will also feature at the next Toronto Film Festival.


Which of James Franco's projects are you looking forward to the most?


Latest from our Creators