James Franco is set to direct The Pretenders. The 38-year-old actor will head behind the camera for the ’80s style romantic drama, adding another directing project to his already long list of credits in the role which previously included As I Lay Dying, In Dubious Battle, and Zeroville.
Also announced are the three starring roles, which will go to rising stars Jack Kilmer, Shameik Moore, and Jane Levy. Alongside them, Brian Cox and Juno Temple will also feature in the movie.
The Pretenders was written by Josh Boone – who previously directed the hit young adult movie The Fault in Our Stars – and is set in New York City in the 1980s. It follows two college friends (Kilmer and Moore) who fall in love with the same girl (Levy), which creates a unique love story between the threesome that spans a decade.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the script for the movie has been circulating since 2013, and has had various loose actor attachments throughout the years with nothing firm ever being put in place.
The movie is being produced in a co-production effort between SSS Entertainment, Rabbit Bandini Productions, and Yale Productions. SSS Entertainment are putting forward Shaun Sanghani, Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis are producing from Rabbit Bandini, and Yale is sending in Jordan Yale Levine. The producing team will work alongside Katy Leary and Scott Levenson.
Meanwhile, James was confirmed earlier this year to be playing the role of a vengeful criminal in the new sci-fi thriller movie Kin, alongside Jack Reynor, Zoe Kravitz, and Dennis Quaid.
News of James’ new roles both on-screen and off-screen comes after he previously admitted that his behavior on film sets in the past has been less than co-operative, but that he’s now learned the error of his ways.
Speaking at the time, he said: “I’ll admit I was not a team player. A lot of it, I think, just had to do with being obnoxious when the camera was on someone else. Maybe I’d eat a banana in the background that would take focus away from other actors. I didn’t think about it that way, but now I could say, ‘Look, the scene’s not about me, it’s about them, just chill out, James. Don’t eat a f***ing banana.'”