SINGAPORE – Chronicling the rise of pornography and the multibillion-dollar industry’s transformation of American culture, the critically acclaimed drama series The Deuce, created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, returns for its nine-episode second season on Monday, September 10 at 9am, exclusively on HBO GO. Resuming five years after the culmination of the first season, The Deuce returns to the world of 1977, capturing the Times Square area of midtown New York at its most garish and volatile.
Amid a city that is as culturally dynamic as it is dystopic, the show finds its protagonists living at the apex of the Golden Age of Porn, when the dream of a mainstream X-rated film business is suddenly a credible reality, and the culture of pornography and its blatant commodification of sex is finding increasing traction among more and more Americans.
Disco and punk are in full swing, and police corruption and political tolerance for New York’s midtown demimonde is at its height. And the Mafia, the early backer of pornography at the moment when courts declared for its legality, is now seemingly poised to reap great profits. A comparable – and, in some ways, more professional – porn industry is rising on the West Coast as well. But for now, New York is holding its own in a city flush with movies, music and art, as the drug-fueled party rages around the clock.
“This is the moment when it genuinely seemed for the first time that hardcore pornography was going to become mainstreamed into American culture and pysche,” said David Simon. “And in a very real sense that would happen to a profound degree, though not in the ways that our protagonists once imagined.”
Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, both veterans of the HBO series The Wire and Treme, The Deuce is executive produced by Pelecanos, Simon, Nina K. Noble and James Franco. The drama series stars James Franco (Golden Globe winner for The Disaster Artist) as both Vincent Martino, a successful manager of several mob-backed nightspots, and his twin brother, Frankie Martino, whose own business ventures are more fraught, and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Oscar nominee for Crazy Heart, Golden Globe nominee for season one of The Deuce) as Candy, now a rising director of ambitious porn films.
The returning cast also includes: Gary Carr as C.C. and Gbenga Akinnagbe as Larry Brown, both Eighth Avenue pimps coping with the changing realities of the sex trade; Margarita Levieva as Abigail “Abby” Parker, who brings her artistic and political sensibilities to the Hi-Hat bar while navigating life with Vincent; Dominique Fishback as Darlene and Emily Meade as Lori, prostitutes who gain a measure of independence as their film careers rise; Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. as NYPD detective Chris Alston; Chris Bauer as massage parlor manager and Martino brother-in-law Bobby Dwyer; Michael Rispoli as Mafia capo Rudy Pipilo; and Chris Coy as nightclub proprietor Paul Hendrickson.
Season two finds Luke Kirby joining the cast as a series regular as Gene Goldman, an incoming Koch administration official bent on reform, and Jamie Neumann joining as a series regular as Ashley, a former sex worker turned activist. Guests include Zoe Kazan, Ralph Macchio, Mustafa Shakir, David Krumholtz, Don Harvey, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Daniel Sauli and Sepidah Moafi.
Season two writers include: David Simon, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, Anya Epstein, Carl Capotorto, Megan Abbott, Stephani DeLuca, Will Ralston (HBO’s “Treme”) and Chris Yakaitis (HBO’s “Treme”).
Season two directors include: Alex Hall, Steph Green, Uta Briesewitz, Zetna Fuentes, Susanna White, Tricia Brock, Tanya Hamilton and Minkie Spiro.
Episode #9 (Season 2, Episode 1): “Our Raison d’Être”
Debut date: Monday, September 10 at 9am
Times Square, 1977. After his early successes managing the Hi-Hat and French Parlor, Vincent is now proprietor of a new mob-backed disco, Club 366, while his girlfriend Abby has brought the nascent punk-rock culture into the Hi-Hat. Vincent’s twin brother, Frankie, remains a problem, “borrowing” money from Show Land, the sex emporium he manages, to pay off his debts. Candy, now a “triple threat” as a porn actress, producer and director, is looking to make more artful, ambitious adult films, over the objections of her collaborator, Harvey C.C. pulls a con on Bernie Wolf, the director of a porn film starring Lori, to get her more money. Hoping to launch a more upscale gay nightclub, Paul looks to sever mob ties from his current bar. Alston, now a homicide detective, is approached by Gene Goldman, a civil servant appointed by Mayor Koch to clean up Times Square.
Written by David Simon & George Pelecanos; directed by Alex Hall.
Episode #10 (Season 2, Episode 2): “There’s an Art to This”
Debut date: Monday, September 17 at 9am
Confronted with the changing realities of prostitution and porn, C.C. doubles down on his assets, while fellow pimp Larry Brown eyes a new opportunity. Growing creatively frustrated, Candy turns to Genevieve Furie, a onetime porn director who’s graduated to slasher films, for filmmaking advice. After a customer is mugged outside his bar, Paul is approached by Matty the Horse, a rival of Rudy’s, who promises Paul the mob protection he deserves. Following a nostalgic road trip to Coney Island with Vincent, Abby attends a meeting of activists, and recognises a familiar face from Times Square. Written by Richard Price; directed by Alex Hall.
Episode #11 (Season 2, Episode 3): “Seven-Fifty”
Debut date: Monday, September 24 at 9am
Lori envisions a sunny future in LA after attending the AFFA Erotica Awards with Harvey and Candy, who’s looking to connect with west-coast producers who are willing to turn her fairy tale into reality. Paul and Kenneth approach Vincent about a loan for a new nightclub, free from mob ties. Goldman visits Alston’s precinct to share the mayor’s vision for cleaning up the Deuce. Frankie wins a hand of poker, but risks losing his job. Back in NYC, Ashley pushes her reform agenda on Abby, while trying to avoid C.C. Larry Brown and Darlene learn a bitter lesson about supply and demand. Rudy sends a message to his rivals, but invites retaliation.
Written by Chris Yakaitis; directed by Steph Green.
Episode #12 (Season 2, Episode 4): “What Big Ideas”
Debut date: Monday, October 1 at 9am
Ashley and Abby resolve to track down the identity of a 16-year-old sex worker killed in a recent fire. Vincent is shaken after witnessing the brutal side of Rudy’s operation. Frustrated by the progress on her new film, Candy recruits new faces to help with the production. Frankie finds his dry-cleaning business a less-than-perfect fit. Larry Brown shows off his improvisational skills. Lori looks to forge a deal with Kiki while keeping C.C. in the loop.
Written by Anya Epstein; directed by Uta Briesewitz.
In addition to The Wire, creators David Simon and George Pelecanos collaborated on HBO’s New Orleans drama Treme. Simon is an author, journalist and producer whose other works for HBO include The Corner, Generation Kill and Show Me a Hero. Pelecanos is the author of 20 critically acclaimed novels, including The Double and The Turnaround, as well as a screenwriter and film producer, and served as a writer and co-producer on The Pacific.
The Deuce was created by George Pelecanos and David Simon; executive producers, George Pelecanos, David Simon, Nina K. Noble and James Franco; co-executive producer, Richard Price.