We reported earlier this month that 20th Century Fox is teaming up with James Franco on Multiple Man, a new X-Men spin-off that James Franco is set to both star in and produce. While that report wasn’t necessarily confirmed by the studio, James Franco was asked about this project, and while he wouldn’t say that the project he’s developing is Multiple Man, he did state that it’s an X-Men project that he’s working on with Simon Kinberg at 20th Century Fox. Here’s what he had to say in a recent interview, while promoting his new film The Disaster Artist.
“I do have a superhero that I am developing. I don’t know how much I can say. But I will say I am producing and performing in it. It’s early stages. I think probably what I can say is, like anything, there’s a need to develop more. 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.”
Multiple Man, a.k.a. Jamie Madrox, was created by Len Wein, making his first appearance in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 that debuted in February 1975. This unique character had the ability to make limitless duplicates of himself, who was largely seen as a supporting character until he was given a greater role in the 1987 mini-series Fallen Angels, and later became a major part of writer Peter David’s X-Factor comic book series. Multiple Man only had one appearance in the X-Men movies, played by Eric Dane in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand, and there was talk in 2014 that the character could be used in a live-action X-Men TV series.
With James Franco’s mention of 20th Century Fox’s R-rated hits Logan and Deadpool, it’s possible that James Franco could be playing quite the foul-mouthed version of this iconic character. With both Marvel and Warner Bros. hesitating to make R-rated superhero movies, it’s possible that 20th Century Fox could be trying to continue their run of R-rated hits with Multiple Man. While the Deadpool 2 sequel will be R-rated, it remains to be seen what the studio’s other two X-Men movies, New Mutants (April 13, 2018) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be rated at this time.
Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman) has been tasked with writing the script for Multiple Man, with Simon Kinberg producing through his Genre Films company and James Franco and his Ramona Films company. This project was birthed through a different collaboration between producer Simon Kinberg, who is also making his directorial debut with X-Men: Dark Phoenix and James Franco, entitled The Hardy Men. That project was written by Simon Kinberg and Rodney Rothman that would feature James Franco and his brother Dave Franco playing The Hardy Boys as adult detectives. You can visit The Hollywood Reporter for their entire interview with James Franco, where he also discusses The Disaster Artist.