EXCLUSIVE: Fox is developing a film vehicle for James Franco to play the Marvel Comics character Multiple Man, with Wonder Woman scribe Allan Heinberg writing the script, and Simon Kinberg and his Genre Films producing along with Franco and Ramona Films, the shingle that Franco runs with brother Dave Franco and Vincent Jolivette.
The character is part of the X-Men universe, which Fox controls and continues to exploit with Kinberg at the center of all the movies. Multiple Man is Jamie Madrox, who, in the comics, conveyed his cloning powers at birth, when a second, identical version of him appeared after the doctor slapped the infant to get him to breathe. His father, a worker at the Los Alamos Nuclear Research Center, moved his family to a remote farm where his son — fitted with a special suit to control his powers designed by X-Men patriarch Professor Xavier — lived quietly until the suit malfunctioned and he began to go crazy. His cloning abilities drove Madrox to have various collisions and collaborations with both the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Jeremy Kramer will oversee it for Fox and the deals are being made now.
The film came out of another collaboration between Franco and Kinberg, The Hardy Men, which Kinberg scripted and is being scripted by Rodney Rothman as a potential star vehicle for both James and Dave Franco, whose Ramona released its first film, the James Franco-directed The Disaster Artist. The idea is for James and Dave Franco to play the grown up versions of the venerable teen sleuths The Hardy Boys, also for Fox.
Fox has been aggressively mining the X-Men universe and its many characters. Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner produce the Josh Boone-directed The New Mutants, and the Ryan Reynolds-starrer Deadpool 2 with director David Leitch. Kinberg directed, scripted and produces X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Coming right behind that is Gambit, the Channing Tatum-starrer which recently got a commitment from director Gore Verbinski. Kinberg and Shuler Donner are producing with Tatum’s Free Association.
Franco is repped by UTA and Anonymous Content.