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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.

Kim Kardashian claims Kanye West loved the Franco/Rogen 'Bound 2' spoof

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In a move that seems specifically designed to stave off the inevitable multimedia feud between Kanye West and James Franco that we all know is coming eventually, Kim Kardashian has tweeted that she and her fiancé very much enjoy the spoof Franco and Seth Rogen made of Kim and Kanye’s “Bound 2″ music video. READ FULL STORY

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.

This Week on Stage: Romeo, 'The Seagull,' and 'Wait Until Dark' in L.A.

More Bard, more Chekhov, and some choice revivals pepper this week’s lineup of new plays on the boards, with some notable stars getting their feet wet in classics (Alison Pill, Elizabeth Olsen, Alessandro Nivola, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), and expect more of the same this spring: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, and Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will join recent Best Actor Tony recipient (and acclaimed scribe) Tracy Letts in a new play by Will Eno on Broadway. Moreover, buzz has restarted that James Franco may finally make his long-awaited Main Stem debut in a revival of Of Mice and Men (or is he just trying to get even more attention?). And the stars will keep on comin’ — check back next week for reviews of new plays featuring Mary-Louise Parker and David Hyde Pierce (click on the links below to read the newest full reviews):

The Model Apartment  After an Off Broadway debut 20 years ago, Donald Margulies’ (Time Stands Still) unsettling play about Holocaust survivors weathering a temporary apartment and family dysfunction has long been considered one of the playwright’s most challenging works. Did Melissa Rose Bernardo find it worth reviving? A resounding yes: “It’s almost certainly the only Holocaust comedy you’ve ever seen…how Margulies conceived this nightmarish dream world I’ll never know. But I do know it’s one I’m not likely to forget.” EW grade: A-

Romeo & Juliet  Martha Marcy May Marlene star Elizabeth Olsen stars alongside T.R. Knight and Daphne Rubin-Vega in a modern-dress take on the tragedy about star-crossed lovers (the second of two this fall season, after Orlando Bloom’s critically drubbed Broadway take). Senior editor Thom Geier found this one considerably less than a rose by any other name, dubbing it “sadly amateurish… [Tea] Alagic’s production makes [little] sense…the cast seems to have been left to its own devices to create their characters and block their scenes.” EW grade: D+

The Seagull  Trudie Styler (known to most of us as Sting’s longtime spouse and producer extraordinaire) hits the stage as Anton Chekhov’s actress Arkadina (dubbed Isobel here) in an Irish-set downtown revival of the oft-produced country drama. Does this Seagull have wings? Stephan Lee claims Styler “shines” but adds that “director Max Stafford-Clark doesn’t stray too far from the original spirit of this classic, but his production is unlikely to win new fans.” EW grade: B

Wait Until Dark The Newsroom’s Alison Pill takes a stab (pun intended) at a role created memorably by Audrey Hepburn in Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the spooker about a blind woman terrorized by con men. Lindsey Bahr insists the tense thriller still has a kick. “[The production] reminds CGI-infected audiences that a few shadows, a shiny knife, and compelling characters can still go a long way to create suspense… the famous showdown does not disappoint.” EW grade: A–

The Winslow Boy  Roundabout Theatre Company revives Terrence Rattigan’s 1946 English drama about a family’s efforts to clear their son’s good name from a crime, starring Roger Rees, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Alessandro Nivola. Thom Geier had mixed feelings about the production: “Director Lindsay Posner, who previously staged the show at London’s Old Vic, brings a crisp precision to the proceedings. But there’s only so much you can do with the material, which feels like an over-long and decidedly twee Masterpiece Theatre drama.” EW grade: B-

Britney Spears wants James Franco as Christian Grey: 5 reasons he's actually perfect for it

Everyone’s favorite parlor game — “Who should play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie/trainwreck/the cinematic experience of our time” — just got another celebrity participant. If one Ms. Britney Spears had her way, sexy, dominating businessman Christian Grey will be played by James Franco.

“I love James Franco,” Spears replied when asked about her pick. “I think he’s really cool.” That kind of teenspeak is Spears gushing! She’s all in!

It’s easy to dismiss her remarks with a laugh (and you can get a second chuckle picturing Spears reading Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time: “This is dirty, y’all!”), but while, yes, Franco is a bona fide movie star who probably has no interest, he actually seems like a solid choice that might actually sign on, as opposed to other A-list wish-list names, such as Leonardo DiCaprio or Christian Bale. Props to Ms. Spears. (Franco’s rep didn’t reply to EW’s request for comment.)

Is tortured artist James Franco secretly the perfect person to play tortured torturer Christian Grey? They both have been called freaks, after all. Franco loves a good controversial project (Spring Breakers!), so let’s really think this through, because if you’re anything like Britney and me, your ears may have just perked up at the one name that would actually get you into the theater opening weekend, if only so you could watch him smirk to the camera for 90 minutes. READ FULL STORY

'The Mindy Project' season 2: New and improved?

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I wanted to like the first season of The Mindy Project. I really did.

But even though I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Mindy Kaling fan from way back when — I ate up every Subtle Sexuality video, read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? as soon as I could get my hands on a copy, and still remember yearning to see Matt & Ben when I was in high school — there was just something about the ex-Office star’s sitcom that didn’t connect with me.
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James Franco's Comedy Central roast: A drinking game

True, we already know the best jokes told at Franco’s ritual ribbing; EW was on the scene for the event’s taping, which happened last Sunday.

But drinking games aren’t about surprises. They’re about recognizing predictable words and behaviors, ones that are repeated frequently but not so frequently that following them would make playing the game physically impossible. (Which would be why we’re not asking you to sip every time James Franco squints.)

So with that in mind, let’s consider some of the topics that will likely come up again and again when Comedy Central airs the roast this Monday, Sept. 2 at 10 p.m. Obviously, PopWatch cautions you to celebrate responsibly — especially if you’re planning to indulge in Franco’s drug of choice.*

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James Franco's Comedy Central roast: The 26 best lines

At the Comedy Central roast of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Andy Samburg and Aziz Ansari relentlessly picked apart the honoree.

Franco admitted post-show that sharing the berating burden with the rest of the dais — Jonah Hill’s weight was the biggest target of the night — made it easier to endure countless jokes about his failure as an Oscar host, his ambiguous sexuality, questionable film choices, constant schooling and general renaissance man qualities with a smile on his face. “I’ve never watched one of these roasts. I chose not to research this so I had no idea that they were going to be roasting each other [too]. I thought I’d be sitting here for two hours bearing the brunt of it so it was a huge relief,” Franco explained. “I had a great time. Everybody was awesome, solid.”

You can see just how awesome when the special airs on Sept. 2 and until then here are some of the night’s best putdowns, slams and lampoons: READ FULL STORY

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