Return to the big screen James FrancoStar in the drama about World War II Me, YouHis first film project since being accused four years ago of sexual misconduct was titled ‘The First Film Project.
“I am excited to board this phenomenal project and to be working with the legendary [director] Bille August,” the Pineapple ExpressStar, 44, stated in a statement Entertainment WeeklyTuesday, July 12th: More about the film “I’m a huge fan of his work, and Me, You is a truly brilliant script.”
Based on Erri De Luca‘s novel Tu, MioThe movie is about Marco, a 16-year old boy who meets Nicola (Franco), a fisherman on a trip to Italy with his dad in the wake of World War II. As Nicola “beguiles” Marco with his stories of his military service, the teen also meets and falls in love with 20-year-old Caia (Daisy Jacob), who suffered at the hands of the SS during the war. The pair’s stories “awaken a ferocious resentment for the SS in Marco,” per the film’s synopsis. After encountering a group of “rude” German tourists, the teen decides to avenge Caia and her family.
Me, You marks Franco’s first film project since he was accused of sexual misconduct in early 2018. “In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. This is how I maintain my well being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it,” the 27 HoursActor said it during a January 2018 appearance The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. “The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to, you know, shut them down in any way. It’s, I think, a good thing and I support it.”
Days after he denied the allegations, five of Franco’s former students accused him of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior, claiming that he abused his power to pressure women into participating in scenes they didn’t feel comfortable filming. “I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” Sarah TitherKaplanHe told the story of his time at Studio 4 in Hollywood. Los Angeles TimesJanuary 2018,
Another woman, aspiring filmmaker Violet Paley, was in a consensual relationship romantic with the Disaster ArtistAfter meeting him in 2016, actor. She claimed that he forced her to have oral sex with him while she was sitting in her car. “I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out,” the 23-year-old alleged to the paper. “I got really nervous, and I said, ‘Can we do this later?’ He was kind of nudging my head down, and I just didn’t want him to hate me, so I did it.”
Franco’s attorney Michael PlonskerAll allegations were denied at the time by the company. In February 2021 Us WeeklyFranco and Tither-Kaplan reached a settlement, which was confirmed by the other women who brought a class action lawsuit against him. They claimed sexual exploitation. According to court documents the plaintiffs agreed not to sue in return for a cash settlement.
Later that year the California native addressed the allegations while revealing that he had entered treatment in 2016 for sex addiction. “It’s such a powerful drug, and I got hooked on it for 20 more years,” Franco told SiriusXM’s Jess CagleDecember 2021. “The insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time. … In my head, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m sober. I’m living a spiritual life.’ Where on the side, I’m acting out now in all these other ways, and I couldn’t see it.”
The Oscar winner also revealed that he decided to take a “pause” from the spotlight and focus on his recovery in the wake of the allegations against him. “I’ve just been doing a lot of work,” the DeuceWhen asked about his life since 2018, the alum answered that he had been doing a lot of things. “I was in recovery before, you know, for substance abuse, and there were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction. And so I’ve really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and changing who I was.”
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member can provide confidential, non-judgmental support as well as local resources for healing, recovery, and other issues.