The dramatic series will not deal directly with Broadway, however. It will be set in the tawdry world of the pornography industry that flourished alongside Broadway in the 1970s and 1980s. The title of "The Deuce" was street lingo for the block of 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues during the period before it was cleaned up and reclaimed for the legitimate theatre and allied industries in the late 1990s.
No premiere date was announced.
Franco, who appeared on Broadway in 2014, as George in Of Mice and Men, will play twin brothers, Vincent Martino and Frankie Martino, who Variety reported, "were players in the Times Square world and became fronts for mob control of the volatile and lucrative sex industry."
Gyllenhaal, who also appeared on Broadway in 2014, in The Real Thing, plays a prostitute who is drawn into the porn business.
Also in the "Deuce" cast: Gary Carr, Margarita Levieva, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Emily Meade and Dominique Fishback. Variety reported that the series will follow "the story of the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square from the early '70s through the mid '80s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world that existed there until the rise of HIV, the violence of the cocaine epidemic and the renewed real estate market ended the bawdy turbulence of the area."
The scripts will be written and executive-produced by David Simon and George Pelecanos. Nina Noble will also serve as producer, and Richard Price will co-write. Michelle MacLaren ("Breaking Bad") directed and executive-produced a pilot.
The period and milieu were explored on Broadway itself, in the 1997 musical The Life.