James Franco's lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Peoples Improv Theater in New York City when they found out the venue was set to stage a play titled James Franco and Me, The New York Times reports. According to Kevin Broccoli, who wrote the two-man production, Peoples Improv subsequently canceled the show.
Broccoli, an actor and playwright, told The New York Times, "I'm not someone who's trying to get into legal entanglements by any means, but anyone who comes to see the show would see that it's totally satire and within fair use guidelines."
The play debuted at the Epic Theater Company in Cranston, Rhode Island in November; Broccoli performed it there more than 30 times. In the production, he portrays a character waiting in the hospital where his father is on his deathbed. Broccoli then encounters a fictional version of Franco in the same medical facility, and the two "end up ruminating about mortality." In Cranston, a different actor played Franco every night.
Broccoli views the production as an homage to Franco's creative versatility. "I've always been kind of fascinated with him because of how much product he puts out," he said.
On August 12th, the play will run for one night back at the Epic Theater with a new title: _____ and Me. But Broccoli will not be involved in that show: he doesn't want to perform it again until it comes to New York.
"The play is about mortality and making the most of what you have," he said. "I imagined that if anyone would be game for this it'd be [Franco]."