We recently learned that James Franco is set to star as Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, in an ‘X-Men’ spinoff film. Franco, of course, is no stranger to superhero films, having jumpstarted his film career with his role in Sam Raimi’s trilogy of ‘Spider-Man’ films (which, alongside Bryan Singer’s early ‘X-Men’ movies, are often credited with establishing the superhero genre as a force to be reckoned with at the dawn of the twenty-first century), but this will mark his first time appearing as a lead in such a film.
But Franco isn’t just starring in the film, he’s also a producer, giving him no small measure of creative input at this early stage. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Franco offered some cryptic insight into his approach to the film, on which he is collaborating with longtime ‘X-Men’ producer Simon Kinberg:
I do have a superhero that I’m developing. I don’t know how much I can say. But I will say I am producing and performing in it. Or will perform in it. It’s early stages. I think probably what I can say is, like anything, there’s a need to develop more. I have a company with my brother now called Ramona Films. We’re developing all kinds of movies. Our bottom line MO is, how can we push this into new ground? A little bit, but still make it entertaining? So that separates it from what I was doing alone, me making a Cormac McCarthy film, pushing into the new frontier of necrophiliacs.
What I love about Simon Kinberg and Fox and the ‘X-Men’ people have done with ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Logan’ – it took a while to get there, maybe ten years, but they are going to go hard R. And we’re going to take, you know, this superhero thing and really just push it into a new genre. ‘Deadpool’ is almost like an action romantic comedy. And ‘Logan’ is like a western, you know?
As written by Peter David from 2004 to 2013, Madrox operated a mutant detective agency dubbed X-Factor Investigations. While we don’t yet know whether or not the upcoming film will be based on this period of Madrox’s history, it would certainly make sense. Not only is David’s ‘X-Factor’ something of a fan favorite, but the idea of doing mutant detective stories fits nicely with the stated aim of broadening the world of the X-films, especially given the description of ‘Logan’ as a western and the obvious influence of the horror genre on ‘The New Mutants’. Not to mention that the ‘X-Factor’ comics applied the detective genre to everything from straight up crime noir stories to tales that embraced the more esoteric sci-fi and mystical sides of the Marvel Universe.
A version of the character previously appeared in 2006’s ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’, but as is so often the case with that movie, the less said the better.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on the upcoming Multiple Man film as it becomes available!