James Franco is a true renaissance man, an artist with many passions — short-story writing, documentary filmmaking, painting — who also isn’t above starring in a fun superhero movie. Early in his acting career, he played Harry Osborn (son of and successor to Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin) in Sam Raimi’s 2000s Spider-Man trilogy. And he nearly became one of the few actors to play more than one comic book character in different franchises, attached to star as mutant Multiple Man in a standalone X-Men film for Fox.
In 2017, Deadline reported that the man of multiple talents would both star and produce (through his company, Ramona Films) in a film about mutant James Madrox, the son of a nuclear researcher and a man who can create clones of himself at will, leading to all kinds of exciting hijinks. Franco told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 that he wanted to make a different, edgier comic book movie, akin to Deadpool or Logan. “Our bottom line MO is, how can we push this into new ground?” he said, adding that, “We’re going to take this superhero thing and push it into a new genre.”
X-Men franchise overseer Simon Kinberg was also actively involved in the project, who, nearly a year after its announcement, told IGN that a script was “being worked on right now.” That was in 2018, but with Disney acquiring Fox (and X-Men movie Dark Phoenix underperforming), it doesn’t seem like Multiple Man will be playing in theaters soon.