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James Franco Will Star in a Multiple Man Movie. Yes, the X-Men One

By Shawn DePasquale

James Franco Will Star in a Multiple Man Movie. Yes, the X-Men One

In either a desperate or inspired move (time will tell), Deadline reports that Fox is developing a Multiple Man movie starring James Franco as the titular hero. Yes, this sounds like an incredibly wild shot in the dark by Fox to expand their X-Men franchise, but with a script by Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman), and Simon Kinberg (X-Men Apocalypse) attached to produce, there might actually be a chance this concept could work. That said, the one thing that all parties involved must first agree on is tone. Let’s be clear: this movie needs to be a comedy.

In the comics, Multiple Man is a guy named Jamie Madrox. While many mutant don’t develop their abilities until they hit puberty, Madrox’s powers manifested at birth. Eventually, Professor Xavier designed him a kick-ass super-suit that helped control his ability to make multiple clones of himself and Madrox lived a chill life with his dad on a farm. Then the suit went on the fritz and Madrox started to go insane. He’s been a member of X-Factor (the team, not the reality show), X-Corps and for a brief period he was a private detective. There’s certainly a lot for Heinberg to cherry pick, as Madrox has also crossed over over multiple times with other X-Men teams and the Fantastic Four, but trying to build a serious film around this supporting character is a huge mistake.

The best approach for this film would be for Fox and friends to take a page from the Marvel Cinematic playbook and make Multiple Man closer in tone to Ant-Man. The mostly comedic mood of the Paul Rudd-led film is the reason that movie impressed audiences enough to garner a sequel. It didn’t hurt that Rudd is a bona fide comedy star, but then again so is Franco. In fact, while the actor is also an accomplished dramatic thespian, he’s best known for his comedic chops starring alongside Seth Rogen in several hilarious roles.

With the intention of making a hilarious superhero comedy, it’s then up to Heinberg to figure out a compelling reason for audiences to care about this particular adventure. That’s where Madrox’s history as a private eye could come in handy for the scribe. Imagine a send up of a hard-boiled detective played with Franco’s masterful deadpan charm and dashes of Multiplicity added in for a bit of extra fun, leading to a splashy, action-packed finale that’s emotionally satisfying. That’s the Multiple Man movie we all deserve.

There are no other details about the still-in-development concept, but Fox has a big year lined up with the debut of The New Mutants, a horror take on the mutant franchise from director Josh Boone, and then the highly-anticipated Deadpool 2 with star Ryan Reynolds returning to the role alongside Josh Brolin as time-traveling mutant, Cable. Kinberg is also busy writing, directing and producing X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and Fox continues to threaten to make a Channing Tatum-starring Gambit movie, which honestly feels more like a six-minute Saturday Night Live sketch than a new franchise-starter. 

IMAGE: Marvel Comics