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Soon you'll be able to see James Franco in 'Of Mice and Men' on screen

The hit Broadway production of Of Mice and Men is galloping to a close this Sunday. But the very idea of James Franco and Chris O’Dowd playing iconic ranchhands George and Lennie will live on forever, as National Theatre Live has announced plans to film and internationally broadcast the Anna D. Shapiro-directed revival.

Of Mice and Men—which also stars Gossip Girl alum Leighton Meester, True Blood alum Jim Parrack, and stage veteran Jim Norton—will be the first Broadway show filmed by the company. Screening dates will be announced later this year.

National Theatre Live’s M.O. is to film productions—typically the starrier, more memorable ones based in the UK—and screen them in cinemas and on digital platforms. The company began in June 2009, broadcasting Helen Mirren’s Phedre, and has since preserved War Horse, Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller in Frankenstein, and Tom Hiddleston’s Coriolanus, among dozens of others.

Of Mice and Men opened on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre on July 20, and became the first production of the spring to recoup its full investment after twelve weeks.

Chris O'Dowd, Audra McDonald and more Tony nominees share weird warm-ups, campaign slogans -- VIDEO

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The month of campaigning for the 2014 Tony Awards is well underway, and that’s why you’ll see this year’s crop of nominees—from Bryan Cranston and Chris O’Dowd, to Audra McDonald and Idina Menzel—popping up all over the place as they remind you just why they all deserve to take home Broadway’s top honor this year at the Hugh Jackman-hosted ceremony on June 8.

The day after the nominations were announced, EW sat down with a slew of this year’s nominated performers (some first-timers, some veterans, all excited) to chat about their quirky backstage rituals necessary for warming up for the show. And since this is awards season after all, we also asked them to come up with a campaign tagline that sums up their Tony race.

Check back at EW.com all month long for a deeper dive into this year’s nominees, as well as interviews and analysis from our stage team. Let the Tony race commence! READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: James Franco dishes, Audra McDonald dazzles (again)

Lesson learned this week on Broadway: if he does not like what you wrote about him, James Franco will call you “a little bitch”. Franco, who made his Broadway debut this week in Of Mice and Men opposite Bridesmaids charmer Chris O’Dowd, took on the New York Times’ Ben Brantley on Instagram, making it the 453rd silly thing he’s done this year. (Or is it incredibly shrewd and constant self-promotion? One cannot be sure.) In more benevolent news, a bevy of much-loved stage, film, and TV triple threats returned to their roots, including Audra McDonald (channeling the haunted spirit of Billie Holiday, and amazingly so at that), Tony Shalhoub (a nominee last year for Golden Boy and could be again this year), Annette Bening (owning the stage as early 1900s performer Ruth Draper), and the now-film-retired Steven Soderbergh, making a dent Off-Broadway with a new play by frequent collaborator Scott Z. Burns, starring Carrie‘s Chloë Grace Moretz.

(Click on the links below for full reviews)

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'Of Mice and Men': Chris O'Dowd on laughing with James Franco and killing Leighton Meester (on stage)

You recognize him from Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd, Family Tree, Girls and plenty more, but Irish comic Chris O’Dowd has switched gears for his latest role.

He’s playing Lennie, the gentle half of a pair of migrant ranch workers who lead John Steinbeck’s classic Depression-era novella Of Mice and Men. In the newest Broadway revival of the play, O’Dowd makes his Broadway debut opposite James Franco (as the pragmatic George) and Leighton Meester (as a seductive, nameless flirt) in the Anna D. Shapiro-directed production, which opens April 16 at the Longacre Theatre.

Above, check out an exclusive first look at one of the most famous scenes in the play, wherein Lennie and Curley’s wife share a fateful moment in a barn loft. Below, O’Dowd chats with EW about the nerves behind his Broadway debut and how he clicked with Franco and Meester. READ FULL STORY

James Franco reflects on Broadway debut: 'I have a good life'

James Franco seems to have hit a rare stride in life — that is, he’s found happiness. That’s right: The laid-back thespian who epitomizes an off-beat brand of Hollywood cool has settled into a stage where life is “good.”

It’s not exactly what one might have expected from the characteristically aloof Northern California native, but Franco shared plenty of surprises at a TimesTalks event on March 7 in New York City, offering insight on everything from life, film, and even academia. Taking the stage to discuss Of Mice and Men — Franco’s Broadway debut — with co-star Chris O’Dowd, the 35-year-old actor dropped a few interesting and laugh-out-loud gems worth sharing. READ FULL STORY

James Franco discusses Super Bowl commercial, Broadway debut, and... his Dennis Rodman connection? -- VIDEO

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Everyone knows James Franco is a busy man. Upcoming projects include the Broadway play Of Mice and Men, the comedy The Interview with Seth Rogen, and Queen of the Desert with Nicole Kidman, among others. And come Sunday, he’ll be able to add yet another line to his resume: Super Bowl commercial star.

Franco – along with comedian Rob Riggle – will be featured in a spot for the Ford Fusion Hybrid. The ad features Franco in the last 60 seconds of the spot, doubling the excitement and energy of Riggle’s first segment. “Rob will be playing himself in part of it, and then I’ll be playing a version of Rob in the other part,” Franco explained to EW. “Super Bowl commercials are almost like little movies nowadays. …In the ad, a lot of the little things in Rob’s portion will have doubles in my portion, but everything will be much grander. He has a chihuahua, I have a Bengal tiger.”

Check out a tease of Franco and the tiger below:
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James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in 'Of Mice and Men' on Broadway: See the poster

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Surely one of this spring’s most interesting new productions on Broadway is the forthcoming revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in their Broadway debuts.

Take a look above at the new poster for the classic play, which also stars Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester (as Curley’s Wife) and Tony winner Jim Norton (as ranch hand Candy) in the production helmed by award-winning director Anna D. Shapiro. In the poster, Franco and O’Dowd are front and center in their iconic roles as George and Lennie (respectively), two migrant workers in search of a better life during the Great Depression. The revival will mark the first time in 40 years that Broadway will host Steinbeck’s masterpiece about the American dream; the first Broadway production opened in 1937, and the first revival ran in the 1974-75 season.

Of Mice and Men will begin previews on March 19, 2014 at the Longacre Theatre, with opening night set for April 16 and the limited engagement set to conclude on July 27.

Leighton Meester to make Broadway debut in 'Of Mice and Men' with James Franco and Chris O'Dowd

Leighton Meester is going from the Upper East Side to the California country.

The former Gossip Girl starlet has joined the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck’s literary classic about migrant field workers who seek new prospects of success and the American dream during the Great Depression. Previously announced stars James Franco and Chris O’Dowd will also make their debuts as George and Lennie.

Meester will play Curley’s wife, the beauty-obsessed youth who tempts the duo while also incurring the jealous wrath of her hard-headed husband Curley. Additional casting for the roles of Curley and ranch hands Slim, Candy, and the Boss (among others) have not yet been announced.

Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County) will take the reins and direct the production, the first on Broadway in 40 years. The play will bow on March 19 at the Longacre Theatre, with official opening night set for April 16. Move quickly though: This limited engagement is strictly ending on July 27.

James Franco and Chris O'Dowd to make Broadway debuts in 'Of Mice and Men'

Hollywood golden boy James Franco and Irish comedian Chris O’Dowd will make their Broadway debuts this spring in a new revival of John Steinbeck’s literary classic Of Mice and Men.

Franco will star as George, a sharp-witted migrant field worker who dreams of a better life during the Great Depression. Bridesmaids breakout Chris O’Dowd will make his debut opposite Franco as the gentle, mentally disabled Lennie. Additional casting for the play’s other iconic roles (including Slim, Candy, Curley, and his wife) — as well as members of the design team — will be announced soon.

Tony-winning director Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County) is set to direct the play, which has not been seen on Broadway since a 1974 revival starring James Earl Jones. Steinbeck’s stage adaptation of his 1937 novel first premiered that same year at the Music Box Theatre.

Of Mice and Men will begin previews at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre on March 19, 2014. Opening night is slated for April 16, and the limited engagement is scheduled to end July 27.

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