HBO already teased The Deuce, but that first tease was truly that – a series of rapid-fire images of the show’s vision of ’70s Times Square, peppered with James Francos (because, yes, there are two here, and both have sleazy mustaches) and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Now, the premium cable network has released a longer trailer (double the length, with dialogue!), though they’re calling it an “official tease,” so perhaps that’s an indication that an even more robust glimpse at the series is on its way.
The trailer reveals…gambling! Porn! Mafia…stuff! Funny hair! Sounds like an HBO show. But the fact that this is a David Simon (and George Pelecanos) series suggests (as does the trailer, in its meticulous texturing and world-building) that this will be a singular, granular, and specific look at those buzzy themes. After all, James Franco gets to talk to himself beneath dueling fraternal porn-staches, and I don’t believe that exists anywhere else. The best description you’ll find of the series thus far comes, rather unsurprisingly, from Simon himself. He said in an interview with Variety:
[The Deuce is] roughly based on the story of the actual people who were there, some of the people that were the pioneers when pornography came out of the brown paper bag and became an open industry. Suddenly, a lucrative and provocative industry came out of nowhere soon to become a billion-dollar industry and a culture [impacting] right down to commercials to sell beer that became more and more overt right down to the sex education of a twelve-year-old with a laptop. We all live in a different world. There’s a cultural revolution here. But there is also a market story. It is a story about market capitalism and the rise of a new industry and what the world is like now when something is not supposed to be sold openly suddenly becomes legitimate and legitimized.
Both Maggie Gyllenhal and Franco played roles in the production beyond acting — Franco executive produced and directed an episode, while Maggie Gyllenhaal served as one of the series’ producers. She told Indiewire, “I didn’t know if I could play a prostitute without some kind of guarantee that they wanted to use not just my body, but also my mind. I wanted to be a part of the storytelling and the conversation about what happens to this woman. That was a big ask for an HBO show that was developed without me — and they gave it to me.”
Watch the trailer: