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Maggie Gyllenhaal has joined David Simon's HBO porn drama

James Franco's on board too, and he's playing twin mobsters

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Maggie Gyllenhaal has agreed to join the cast of The Deuce, a David Simon pilot set for HBO that chronicles the New York porn industry during the 1970s and early 1980s. Gyllenhaal will play Eileen Merrell, a Times Square prostitute (otherwise known as Candy) with a nose for business. The only other confirmed cast member at this point is James Franco, who's set to play twin mobsters — yes, multiple — lording over the nascent industry with iron fists.

The Deuce is one of two pilots Simon sold HBO in August; the other is a more straightforward Capitol Hill drama, one created in conjunction with legendary journalist Carl Bernstein. The former's premise sounds absurd, but there's nothing funny about the dramatic prowess behind its script and camera. Simon wrote the pilot with longtime collaborator George Pelecanos, and Michelle MacLaren — best known for her work on Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead — handled its direction. Franco might be better known for his creative antics than his acting at this point, but he's still a recent Oscar nominee.

Gyllenhaal and Simon are both coming off celebrated miniseries

For Gyllenhaal, committing to The Deuce represents another step into the world of TV after impressing in Hugo Blick's 2014 miniseries The Honourable Woman. She was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie during Sunday's Emmy Awards for her work, an award she ultimately lost to Frances McDormand. Simon has just wrapped a celebrated miniseries of his own, HBO's civic drama Show Me a Hero. If The Deuce's October filming goes well, Gyllenhaal and Simon's work together could yield the accolades that have eluded them to date.