In the most inspired X-Men casting stroke since producers realized that Patrick Stewart is bald, Fox’s franchise overseer Simon Kinberg is reportedly in talks with James Franco to play Multiple Man, the hero with the power to create duplicates of himself, then disperse them to dabble in all sorts of different things that, really, might turn out better if he just concentrated on one at a time. Deadline reports that the standalone film would be written by Wonder Woman’s Allan Heinberg and co-produced by Kinberg and Franco, who are also collaborating on The Hardy Men—an update of The Hardy Boys starring Franco and only surviving Franco clone, Dave Franco. As with his current role on The Deuce, Multiple Man would reteam James Franco with his favorite actor, James Franco, along with an all-star supporting cast of James Francos.
Multiple Man concerns Jamie Madrox, a character born with the ability to replicate himself that he controls, occasionally, with the help of a suit created by Professor X, rather than any modicum of self-restraint. Those duplicates then take on their own individual lives and pursuits that most people are like okay, sure about. For example, maybe one Madrox is off carving out a niche as a likable actor in agreeably loose-limbed comedies, while another makes experimental short films with a dildo on their nose. Meanwhile, another Madrox is off writing rambling free verse about getting a blowjob in Palo Alto, another Madrox is halfway around the world, staging a performance-art piece where he pretends to blow James Dean, and still another is in a music studio, creating a disco song about blowjobs. With all their forces thus spread impressively thin, they can all much more quickly accomplish… whatever it is these things “accomplish,” if that’s your provincial attitude.
Fox is already set to release three X-Men films next year in The New Mutants, Deadpool 2, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix; meanwhile, a spinoff film for Gambit and another for Logan character Laura are being planned thereafter, so it’s not yet clear where Multiple Man might fit into that crowded slate. But clearly the franchise is banking on the idea that there’s no such thing as oversaturation, a guiding philosophy that has similarly served James Franco well. They seem as made for each other as two James Francos.