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James Franco is stepping up his acting comeback and will play one of the lead roles in Danish director Bille August’s post-World War II coming-of-age drama Me, You, adapted from the novel Tu, Mia by Erri De Luca.
Franco will star alongside Tom Hollander (The Night Manager) and Daisy Jacob (Vanity Fair), with principal photography set to take place in Ischia starting in September.
Franco stepped away from acting after a series of allegations of sexual misconduct made by multiple women in early 2018, at the height of the #MeToo movement. Additionally, in 2019, students at Franco’s now-closed film and acting school, Studio 4, sued the actor and his partners accusing them of pushing acting students into performing in increasingly explicit sex scenes on camera. In 2021, Franco and associated entities agreed to pay $2,235,000 to resolve the lawsuit.
Set in Ischia in the 1950s, Me, You focuses on 16-year-old Marco, who spends his days “sailing in the tranquil waters of the bay of Naples with hardened fisherman Nicola,” played by Franco,” who beguiles Marco with his wounded tales of the sea and the war following his military service as a U.S. GI,” according to a plot description. “Shy and curious, Marco sets out to experience all that his enchanting new surroundings, so far removed from his native London and gloomy Scottish boarding school, have to offer.”
Marco is on holidays with his parents (Hollander plays his father Edward) and “embarks on a summer that will change him forever when he meets the enigmatic Caia, 20,” played by Jacob, and falls in love with her. “A beautiful complicity is established between the two when Caia reveals her painful past; a childhood stolen by the SS and a father who threw his daughter out of a train in Yugoslavia to save her from the horrors of a concentration camp. The harrowing stories of Nicola and Caia awaken a ferocious resentment for the SS in Marco and, when he encounters a group of rude German tourists on the island, he decides to avenge Caia’s pain. This sets off alarm bells for Caia who avoids him but, fueled by his infatuation and impossible love for her, Marco plans an arson attack on the German’s villa to prove himself worthy of Caia’s affections.”
Directed by August (Pelle the Conqueror, The Best Intentions), with a screenplay written by Greg Latter (Goodbye Bafana), Me, You is produced by Brilliant Pictures’ Sean O’Kelly (Iron Sky) and Marc Bikindou (Black Dahlia, Deception), Cristaldi Pics’ Mark Hammond (The Traitor), together with Jad Ben Ammar and Leo Maidenberg (Deep Fear, Sisters in Arms) who are on board as co-producers.
“I am excited to board this phenomenal project and to be working with the legendary Bille August,” said Franco. “I’m a huge fan of his work, and Me, You is a truly brilliant script.”
London- and Rome-based Brilliant Pictures is handling worldwide sales rights. Franco is represented by Anonymous Content and United Talent Agency in the U.S., as well as Adequat Agency in France. Hollander is represented by Anonymous Content in the U.S. and United Agents in the U.K.
Before this year’s Cannes Film Festival and market, it was unveiled that Franco was set to star in action thriller Mace from The Singing Detective director Jon Amiel.
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