Recently it was reported that James Franco is working on his own superhero film, an adaption of the Marvel Comics X-Men character Multiple Man. However, X-Men franchise studio Twentieth Century Fox declined to comment on the story.
Now, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Franco has confirmed that he is working on a superhero project at Twentieth Century Fox with franchise producer Simon Kinberg and that it is an X-Men character. He just doesn’t say which one.
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.
So consider that half a confirmation, one that tells us that he is indeed working on an X-Men film, but one that doesn’t necessarily acknowledge which character he will be playing.
Multiple Man is actually Jamie Madrox, a mutant who has the ability to create multiple copies of himself. The character first appeared in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 and has been and on-and-off again foe of both the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. More recently, Madrox has reformed somewhat and the recent X-Factor series written by Peter David saw Madrox working as a private detective. Given that Fox is looking to expand on the types of stories it tells within the franchise, a noirish detective story drawing from this series might be a good way to go.
Fox currently has three X-Men films scheduled for next year and have blocked off dates three dates for 2019 and 2020 for further franchise films. Where Multiple Man falls into their plans is still anyone’s guess. But given that they took several years to make sure that they got the upcoming spinoff Gambit to a point where they gave it a greenlight, the studio might not be racing to meet a predetermined deadline here.