HBO has added another big name to upcoming pilot The Deuce. Already set to star James Franco (in two roles, no less), the pilot will now feature Academy Award nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal as its female lead. The actress is also set to produce with Franco.
Set against the backdrop of midtown Manhattan in the 1970s and ’80s, The Deuce will follow the rise of the New York porn industry and showcase the ugly world that existed around Times Square at the time. In the pilot, Gyllenhaal will play Eileen Merrell, known on the street as “Candy,” a prostitute and budding entrepreneur who’s drawn into the growing porn industry. The Deuce will also focus on twin brothers (played by James Franco) who were entrenched in the local mob scene and early players in the sex industry.
Playing a sexually progressive character isn’t uncharted territory for Gyllenhaal. She previously starred in Secretary, a black comedy film that explored a relationship involving BDSM. Her filmography also include the likes of The Dark Night and Happy Endings, among others. Although Gyllenhaal’s resume is film-heavy, she starred in the critically acclaimed miniseries The Honorouable Woman in 2014.
In addition to Gyllenhaal and Franco, the talented team includes The Wire‘s David Simon and George Pelecanos. The duo are teaming up to write The Deuce, as well as executive produce alongside Michelle MacLaren, Nina K. Noble, and Richard Price. Marc Henry Johnson, Franco, and Gyllenhaal will also produce. Meanwhile, MacLaren, who has worked on shows such as Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, will direct the pilot.
Between its impressive team and promising plot, we’d be surprised if The Deuce didn’t get a full series order. A release date for the pilot has not been announced yet, but filming will begin in October in New York.