Writer/director/actor James Franco says the Multiple Man movie he's developing with Fox and Simon Kinberg will, like Logan and Deadpool before it, push X-Men into a new genre. Franco is unable to reveal specific details about the project, but reports say he and Kinberg are teaming up to develop a spinoff movie built around the character Multiple Man, a mutant who has the ability to make instant duplicates of himself.
Jamie Madrox aka. Multiple Man first appeared in comic book form in Giant-Size Fantastic Four in 1975, going on to appear in various Marvel books over the years that followed, before coming into his own in the 1987 miniseries Fallen Angels. Originally created by Len Wein, the character was further developed by Peter David in his X-Factor books of the 1990s and 2000s. Multiple Man made his X-Men movie universe debut in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, where he was played by Eric Dane. James Franco was first reported to be involved in a Multiple Man spinoff film in mid-November.
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Speaking to THR, Franco stopped short of confirming that he's working on a Multiple Man movie, but did provide some general insight into the project he and Simon Kinberg are bringing to life at Fox. According to Franco, the new film will follow the example of Deadpool and Logan by putting an adult twist on X-Men:
“Our bottom line MO is, how can we push this into new ground? A little bit, but still make it entertaining? [But] what I love about what Simon Kinberg and Fox and the X-Men people have done with Deadpool and Logan — it took a while to get there, maybe 10 years — but they are going to go hard R. And we're going to take this superhero thing and really just push it into a new genre. So we’re working with Simon Kinberg on an X-Men property.”
No director has yet been named for Franco and Kinberg's project, but Wonder Woman writer Allan Heinberg is reported to be handling the script. Franco could conceivably take the directorial reins himself, given his prior experience directing his own sometimes crazy performances, most notably in the acclaimed The Disaster Artist, for which Franco is receiving Best Actor Oscar buzz.
Franco's prior experience in the superhero realm came playing Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man movies, back when the actor was still committed to becoming a straight-forward leading man. Since then, Franco has largely rejected mainstream leading man roles, choosing to cut his own sometimes bizarre path as a writer, director, actor, performance artist, Oscar host, YouTube show-off, etc., Given his history as a less-than-conventional performer, Multiple Man would seem an ideal project for Franco, who as it happens already has experience playing multiple characters at once via his dual role as Vincent and Frankie Martino in the acclaimed HBO series The Deuce.
Playing Mutiple Man, a character who is capable of creating and re-absorbing endless duplicates of himself, would give Franco a chance to go nuts with the multiple-role routine. As Franco implied with his remarks to THR, the tone of the movie should be irreverent and R-rated along the lines of Deadpool. Audiences embraced Deadpool and Logan to an unexpected degree, proving there is indeed a market out there for superhero movies that push things in interesting, new, and sometimes dark directions.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020