James Franco returning to acting after four-year break following sexual misconduct lawsuit

Watch: James Franco has been cast in first movie in four years

James Franco is making his acting comeback following a four year break in which he agreed a £1.6m settlement agreement over allegations of sexual misconduct.

The 44-year-old actor has not worked since 2018 when he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women during the #MeToo movement and was subsequently sued by several of his former film students.

The Hollywood Reporter now reports he will return to acting in Second World War coming-of-age drama Me, You, helmed by Danish director Bille August and co-starring The Night Manager's Tom Hollander and Everything I Know About Love's Daisy Jacob.

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Franco said in a statement: “I am excited to board this phenomenal project and to be working with the legendary Bille August. I’m a huge fan of his work, and Me, You is a truly brilliant script.”

 James Franco attends the Filming Italy 2022 photocall
James Franco has signed up to make his first movie in four years. (Getty Images)

He will play former US soldier and hardened fisherman Nicola, who befriends a young boy during his holiday to the island of Ischia in Italy.

Franco – known for roles in Oscar-nominated drama 127 Hours, stoner comedy Pineapple Express and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man franchise – taught creative writing at Columbia University and NYU, after graduating in the subject himself.

He also taught film classes at University College of Los Angeles and was accused of pushing female students to engage in explicit sex scenes on camera.

James Franco, pictured in 2019.
James Franco, pictured in 2019, paid a settlement to his former film students who sued him for sexual misconduct. (Getty Images)

Franco agreed to pay out $2.2m in settlement fees to a number of his former students, who claimed they were victims of fraud for paying for the acting school while being sexually objectified and intimidated.

A joint statement issued at the time read: "The parties and their counsel are pleased to have resolved portions of this dispute and pending lawsuit.

“While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on address the mistreatment of women in Hollywood.

James Franco and girlfriend of five years together in June 2022.
James Franco and girlfriend of five years together in June 2022. (Getty Images)

“All agree on the need to make sure that no-one in the entertainment industry – regardless of sex, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation – faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind.”

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Seth Rogen, who has collaborated with Franco several times in the past, said last year he had no plans to work with him again.

Franco has been dating 26-year-old actor Izabel Pakzad since 2017.