EXCLUSIVE: 127 Hours star James Franco is in discussions to play pornographer Chuck Traynor in a Linda Lovelace film that will be directed by his Howl helmers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Kate Hudson has the offer to play the title role in Lovelace, the W. Merritt Johnson-scripted adaptation of Eric Danville’s book The Complete Linda Lovelace.
Traynor was Lovelace’s husband and a pornographer when she starred in the notorious 1972 porn blockbuster Deep Throat. Later, when she quit the business, divorced Traynor and reclaimed her name Linda Boreman, she accused her ex of coercing her into prostitution and pornography through bullying, beatings and even hypnotism.
Epstein and Friedman unveiled the Franco-starrer Howl at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and the filmmakers have been trying to mount this film as their next project ever since. Franco is not a certainty because his schedule is so busy. Franco, who finds out tomorrow morning if he’ll be a Best Actor nominee, is hosting the Oscarcast with Anne Hathaway. He’s unveiled plans to direct two movies, and he’s joining Nicole Kidman on Broadway this fall in the David Cromer-directed Sweet Bird. All this makes the Traynor role uncertain, but Franco is certainly in discussions. The CAA-repped Franco next stars in the Fox tentpole Rise of the Apes.
That’s not the only Lovelace project in the works. Malin Akerman is attached to star in Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, which Matthew Wilder will direct from the script he wrote, which made the 2008 Black List. The project is based on Ordeal: An Autobiography by Linda Lovelace with Mike McGrady. The producers include Chris Hanley of Muse Productions and Jordan Gertner.
Both projects are struggling to find funding.