After some bumps in the road, Fox's X-Men universe is finally thriving again, and it's giving other cinematic superhero heavyweights like the MCU and DCEU a run for their money. Following the success of Logan and Deadpool, the studio has been focused on bringing more obscure properties to the big screen, such as Gambit, X-Force, and most recently, Multiple Man, according to reports.
In early November, word leaked that James Franco had entered negotiations with Fox to develop and star in a standalone film centered around James Madrox, a.k.a. Multiple Man, a morally-ambiguous mutant with the ability to create duplicates of himself. The project was said to be in early stages of development. Given that, fans weren't expecting to hear anything from it for awhile, but to our surprise, that wasn't the case.
James Franco Is Officially Working On An X-Men Project
Franco is currently promoting The Disaster Artist, and as part of the promotional tour, he sat down for an interview at the Loyola Marymount University's School of Film and TV (transcript courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter). During the chat, the actor confirmed he was working on a superhero project with Fox in the X-Men universe:
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.
Let's face it, we may know the project is Multiple Man, but it's fun to see the actor trying to keep the mystery alive. Well played, Franco. Well played.
Now, fortunately for people who can't wait for more information on this new comic book-inspired film, the actor did leave us with a juicy tidbit.
Making A Superhero Story Unlike Any Other
As mentioned, Fox found great success with Deadpool and Logan, two films that tapped into the R-rated side of the comic book movie genre. It looks like the studio is keen on continuing its streak with Multiple Man because, as Franco seemingly implied, their latest adaptation is eyeing a hard "R" rating:
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 [Kinberg] on an X-Men property.
A hard R Multiple Man film? I gotta be honest, that's something I never thought I'd hear in my lifetime. Jokes aside, I'm excited by this vision. Not necessarily because of the R rating, but because of the effort being put into making this film different from the usual comic book adaptation.
Some may find the fact that a lesser-known character like Multiple Man is getting his own film a bit weird, but this project has a lot of potential. With so many superhero movies coming out every year, slapping a colorful costume on someone and make them fight a bad guy isn't enough to pique people's interest anymore. There needs to be something unique about these characters, and going by Franco's comments, James Madrox's adventure could turn out to be something special.
While we wait for the film to arrive, Fox has a great year ahead of itself with Deadpool2 (June 1, 2018), New Mutants (April 13, 2018) and Dark Phoenix (November 2, 2018).