‘The Wire’ Creator Brings ’70s New York City Sleaze to Life With Latest HBO Series
James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal star in David Simon's 'The Deuce' about the sex industry.
Former Baltimore Sun reporter turned screenwriter David Simon introduced the world to pusherman Shakespeare with HBO’s The Wire. Now, he’s banking on porn-peddling poetry in ’70s New York City with his latest, The Deuce.
As The New York Times explains, the show, which Simon co-created with George Pelecanos, centers on the sex industry that all but defined the Times Square neighborhood during the ’70s, with James Franco starring twice as a set of twins, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, as a prostitute. (The title refers to the nickname given to 42nd Street at the time.) The show premieres on HBO on Sept. 10.
The show has been filming in Brooklyn since 2015 (this writer remembers his old neighborhood, Greenpoint, getting a complete ’70s makeover for a few days).
As the Times notes, HBO will have a lot of answering to do if the show doesn’t hit with audiences. For one, it’s a story about selling women and sexuality as a product—a topic that will certainly not help the network fight the backlash against its perceived sexism. And also, as Simon himself notes, he and his co-creator will be under heavy scrutiny by critics disinterested in hearing another “… boys’ version of the sex industry.” To this end, Simon told the newspaper that often he and his team would do scene-specific critiques, and that he hired gay and trans writers to contribute to screenplays.
And of course, for fans of New York, the Big Apple plays a sizable role in the show, too. As the Times‘ Dan Barry explains:
“The most consequential character may be the city itself, a New York two generations removed, which the creators and their team have captured through spot-on dialogue, time-specific set designs and atmospherics evoking The French Connection and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. No bike shares, no artisanal coffee, no sushi; you took the damned subway, you drank bad deli coffee—and if you wanted fresh tuna, you went down to the pungent Fulton Fish Market before dawn.”
That, and if you’re a Wire fanatic like we are, you’ll see some recognizable faces in the cast, including Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (aka D’Angelo Barksdale), Gbenga Akinnagbe (aka Chris Partlow), and Anwan Glover (aka Slim Charles).
Watch the show’s trailer below.
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