The Deuce, the latest show from The Wire veterans David Simon and George Pelecanos, is a sprawling look at the porn industry in Times Square in the 1970s, starring James Franco as twin brothers and Maggie Gyllenhaal as an entrepreneurial sex worker. The show, which includes several Wire alums (Anwar Glover, Chris Bauer, Larry Gilliard Jr., Gbenga Akinnagbe) and director Michelle MacLaren, won't be released on HBO until the fall (September 10th!), but you can get a very early viewing of the pilot this weekend at the inaugural Split Screens Festival, a celebration of our current age of peak television.
The festival, which was programmed by Vulture critic Matt Zoller Seitz, takes place June 2nd-8th, with exclusive screenings and panel conversations featuring lead actors, behind-the-scenes workers, and some of the top TV critics in the country. Among the many highlights of the fest: there are panels with Mr. Robot's Rami Malek, Sneaky Pete's Margo Martindale, and Better Call Saul's Michael McKean. The Deuce will premiere with MacLaren, Gyllenhaal and Pelecanos in person, while USA's The Sinner will also premiere with showrunner Derek Simonds and executive producer/director Antonio Campos.
There are showcases, with various cast and crew, of Search Party, The Get-Down, Difficult People, and Orphan Black. There are "rewinds" of pivotal episodes of the likes of Hannibal, The Girlfriend Experience and Underground. There are special events on the evolution of television criticism (which includes The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum) and a web series panel; there are also special awards for actor/director Lee Grant and David Chase. The Chase panel includes a viewing of the Sopranos season three classic “Pine Barrens," as well as a panel including Chase, co-executive producer/co-writer Terence Winter and director/actor Steve Buscemi.