James Franco’s ‘King Cobra’ Sells Domestic Rights to IFC Films

Justin Kelly’s drama about true crime in the gay porn industry premiered in Tribeca

Last Updated: July 18, 2016 @ 3:38 PM

IFC Films has won North American distribution rights to James Franco‘s gay porn drama “King Cobra.”

Writer-director Justin Kelly premiered the movie at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. A release date was not immediately known.

Franco, also a producer, appears in the project with “Mr. Robot” star Christian Slater, Disney Channel alum Garrett Clayton and Keegan Allen of “Pretty Little Liars.”

Slater plays an amateur gay porn kingpin whose star (Clayton) attracts the attention of rival filmmakers and lovers (Franco and Allen). The film is based on the actual events that led to the murder of Cobra Video founder Bryan Kocis.

The deal was negotiated with Miles Hardy, Jack Warner and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers. It was produced by Jordan Yale Levine and Scott Levenson, with Franco and Vince Jolivette from the Oscar nominee’s RabbitBandini Productions and Shaun S. Sanghani of SSS Entertainment also producing.

TheWrap spoke with Kelly at length ahead of Cobra’s Tribeca debut, about the film’s unflinching depiction of gay male sex.

“We wanted to make it as unapologetic as possible,” Kelly said. “I didn’t have a desire to shock — it’s a part of the story. Myself and the actors discussed from day one that you can’t shy away.”

“That’s the thing everyone has been saying, ‘This is something that hasn’t been done before,'” Levenson added of the film’s sexual content.

Fellow producer Yale Levine said, “I’m not gay, I just love great film. Gay, straight, black, white, nothing phases me — and now with society as it is, it’s the right time for something like this.”

Read the complete “King Cobra” interview here.