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Kevin Winter/Getty James Franco
James Franco is getting back into his acting career four years after being faced with sexual misconduct allegations.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 44-year-old Oscar nominee has been cast as a fisherman in the coming-of-age period drama Me, You from director Bille August, who made movies like 1993's The House of the Spirits and 1998's Les Misérables adaptation. Production begins in September, the outlet reported, and the cast also includes Tom Hollander and Daisy Jacob.
"I am excited to board this phenomenal project and to be working with the legendary Bille August. I'm a huge fan of his work, and Me, You is a truly brilliant script," Franco said in a statement.
THR added that Franco is also starring in the upcoming action movie Mace. His most recent roles include voicing a character in the 2019 movie Arctic Dogs and the third and final season of HBO's The Deuce that same year.
The Pineapple Express actor was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by five women, four of whom were his acting students, in an article published by the Los Angeles Times in January 2018. That same month, one of the alleged victims, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, told Good Morning America that Franco "abused his power by exploiting the non-celebrity women that he worked with under the guise of giving them opportunities."
At the time, an attorney for Franco denied each of the allegations and cited the actor's 2018 comments on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as his formal denial: "The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn't have a voice for so long. So I don't want to, you know, shut them down in any way."
Brian Ach/Getty James Franco
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Last year, Franco reached a deal with Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal — two of his former acting students who filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him in 2019. Records from the Los Angeles Superior Court at stated that he agreed to pay $2,235,000 in the settlement.
Franco broke his silence in December on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Podcast, saying that he'd "been doing a lot of work" on himself. He revealed that he struggled with sex addiction for years after becoming sober from alcohol at a young age.
Additionally, he admitted that he "cheated on everyone" before his current relationship with girlfriend Isabel Pakzad and he could "never be faithful to anybody." Franco said he became "completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that, but also completely blind to people's feelings."
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"I didn't want to hurt people. In fact, I wasn't really a one-night-stand guy. People that I got together with or dated, I'd see them for a long time, years. It's just that I couldn't be present for any of them. And the behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody," he said at the time.
In a statement after the interview, attorneys who represent his accusers Tither-Kaplan and Gaal slammed Franco's comments.
"In addition to being blind about power dynamics, Franco is completely insensitive to, and still apparently does not care about, the immense pain and suffering he put his victims through with this sham of an acting school," read the statement. "It is unbelievable that even after agreeing to a settlement he continues to downplay the survivors' experiences and ignore their pain, despite acknowledging he had no business starting such a school in the first place."
"This wasn't a misunderstanding over a course name, it wasn't the result of him being overworked — it was, and is, despicable conduct," the statement continued. "Nobody should confuse this interview with Franco taking accountability for his actions or expressing remorse over what happened. It is a transparent ducking of the real issues released just before a major holiday in hopes that he wouldn't face any scrutiny over his response."