James Franco's lawyers shut down New York play for using his name
Officials of the Peoples Improv Theater have pulled the plug after receiving a legal warning.
James Franco's lawyers have successfully managed to shut down a play named James Franco and Me.
Lawyers for the 127 Hours actor fired off a cease-and-desist letter to executives of the Peoples Improv Theater after learning that Kevin Broccoli's play, which had already been performed in Rhode Island, was coming to New York for a weekend of shows in August (17).
Rather than face possible legal consequences, the theatre officials decided to pull the plug on the whole show.
"I was a little disappointed," said Broccoli 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."
Broccoli stars as himself in the "fantasy comedy" in which he is sat in a hospital waiting room while his father is dying, before Franco comes along to comfort him, leading to a discussion about mortality.
Speaking about why he chose Franco, Broccoli said, "I've always been kind of fascinated with him because of how much product he puts out... The play is about mortality and making the most of what you have. I imagined that if anyone would be game for this it'd be him."
The play premiered in Rhode Island in November and was performed 30 times, with a different actor playing Franco each night, without causing any legal trouble. Following the cease-and-desist letter, Broccoli has tweaked his play and the new version is called "_____ and Me" and will not mention Franco's name. It will be performed back in Rhode Island for one night only in August but Broccoli will not be acting in it as he doesn't want to appear in the satire again until it comes to New York.
"I'm still really hoping it'll work out," Broccoli added. "We're not done by any means."
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