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Everything We Know About Season 2 Of 'The Deuce'

Esquire (UK) logo Esquire (UK) 21/08/2018 Olivia Ovenden

Franco is back and we jump forward six years: What To Expect From Season 2 Of 'The Deuce' © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc What To Expect From Season 2 Of 'The Deuce' HBO's The Deuce impressed audiences and critics alike with its debut season exploring the glittering and grotesque birth of the porn industry against the backdrop of gritty 1970's New York.

Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance was praised in particular, with the actress earning an Golden Globe nomination for her turn as the jaded but ambitious prostitute Eileen "Candy" Merrell.

The trailer for the second season was released on Monday, with the series dropping on 9 September in US (UK date not yet confirmed).

Here's what we gleaned from it, and what you can expect in the return to the underbelly of the big apple.

Maggie Gyllenhaal © Shutterstock Maggie Gyllenhaal The story has moved on

With the first season taking place between 1971 and 1972, the second will jump forward six years and take us from the very beginning of the sex industry to slightly further down the line.

As HBO tweeted with an image: “It’s 1978. Punk, disco and porn. The City never sleeps.”

We are now in a time where obscenity laws are crumbling and, as the Earth Wind and Fire soundtracked trailer suggests, disco is spreading joy through the city. But the boom of the porn industry, and everyone trying to get in on it, is causing competition and still working out better for some than others. "Those white girls are getting fifty more dollars a day," says a dismayed woman in the trailer.

Elsewhere we get hints that the tension between the industry and the law is set to grow, with plans for a crackdown on the Red Light district and talks of a "permanent city-wide ban on sex related businesses".

It's Maggie's show, but Franco returns

In terms of cast members, Maggie Gyllenhaal is clearly taking centre-stage in this new world order and relishing her role as, "triple, director, general movie star hotness".

a man standing next to a woman: The deuce season 2 © Sky The deuce season 2

In more controversial news, James Franco is also definitely back. In February show writer Megan Abbott told reporters the actor, who plays twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino, would return for the second season after directing two previous episodes. Franco was conspicuously absent from HBO's promotional material for the series and at the time, the network declined to comment on rumours he'd been axed.

The trailer gives us concrete confirmation the actor, who faces allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour, is in the show. Given The Deuce explores issues of power, consent and sexual violence, it will remains to be seen whether his continued involvement in the show will be a help or hindrance.

In other cast news, Chris Bauer will return as Franco's on-screen brother in law Bobby Dwyer as will Chris Coy as Paul Hendrickson, Dominique Fishback as Darlene, Gary Carr as C.C, Emily Meade as Lori, Gbenga Akinnagbe as Larry Brown and Michael Rispoli as Rudy Pipilo.

a group of people sitting in front of a store: The deuce season 2 © Sky The deuce season 2 Female talent is driving the show

Interestingly, every episode of the nine instalment season will feature female directors with names such as Alex Hall (Treme), Steph Green (The Americans), and Susanna White (Parade’s End) among others.

This follows on from the commitment to representing different voices in season one where show creators George Pelecanos and David Simon realised that "to try to do the story, two middle-aged straight guys, it just wasn’t going to work with just us."

As well as having a female director do the pilot for the first season they had gay and transgender writers in the room to try and "stack the deck so that we’d get a lot of different voices in this thing."

a group of people playing instruments and performing on a counter: The deuce season 2 © Sky The deuce season 2 A possible change of tone

The debut season was released in August 2017, two months before allegations surfaced against Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement engulfed Hollywood. Although The Deuce was widely praised for its empathetic exploration of sex through the eyes of sex workers, the climate around such conversations has undoubtedly changed. 

Speaking at Vulture Festival in New York this May actress Maggie Gyllenhall discussed the emotional cost of having to film so many sex scenes for the show. “I was a part of so many scenes where I would like, meet an actor who had one scene, we would have a sex scene together, and then they would leave and that would be it. And it felt very much like what Candy’s doing, it was like a transaction and then you’re on to the next thing,” she said.

Maggie Gyllenhaal © Shutterstock Maggie Gyllenhaal She added, “I did get a little tired of it by the end of The Deuce to be completely honest. And I think part of that is how Candy felt. By the end of The Deuce, she was like, ‘I’m f**king over it.’ ” 

Speaking of season two Gyllenhaal commented that, “the circumstances are very different”.

We last saw Candy moving up the ranks of the porn industry and being allowed to direct scenes as Harvey's assistant. Though it seems unlikely the show will suddenly offer her a happy ending and gloss over the dark sides of porn, the trailer suggests she's moved up the ladder.

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