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Thursday, January 17, 2008


Adventures In Casting: Gay Movie Hires Actual Gay Actors


- What's the most pimped-out story in the gay blogosphere this week? The news from Towleroad that three talented gay actors are joining the (heretofore heterosexual) cast of Milk, the Oscar-baiting biopic of famed San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk. Joining the previously-announced Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin and James Franco in the cast will now be Victor Garber (Titanic, Alias) as Mayor George Moscone; Denis O'Hare (Charlie Wilson's War, Michael Clayton) as Senator John Briggs, and Stephen Spinella (Angels in America, Connie and Carla) as Milk's political rival Rick Stokes. Wait, is Garber out of the closet yet? I never remember these things anymore. Plus, I'm a little blinded by the shameless gay-approval baiting of Focus Features by releasing this "exclusive" to a gay blog. It's like they're buying our vote or something. (Act up, fight back! Wait to see the movie before making judgements! Just because it's gay doesn't mean it's good!)

- The new X-Men spinoff, Wolverine, is stocking its shelves with grade-A talent. Joining hunky, hirsute Hugh Jackman in the film will be Tony winner Liev Schreiber (The Painted Veil) and Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as the bad guys. It's good to see this commitment to craft and ability; although Wolverine will be a surefire hit at the box office, it's great that the filmmakers are still interested in making the best movie possible.

- After exploding with buzz in Juno, star Ellen Page will take the next step towards global domination in Whip It!, where she'll play "a Texas teen who is always being pushed into entering beauty pageants. But she winds up finding herself after joining a roller derby team." (I wonder if she'll be able to call someone "homeskillet" and talk on a burger phone again? How hip!) Page will be under the guidance of someone who knows a little something about young stardom -- Drew Barrymore, making her directing debut.

- Broadway and Hollywood are crashing into each other on the new NBC series Lipstick Jungle, where the bubbly star of Xanadu, Kerry Butler, will be making a series of guest appearances. The show's star, Brooke Shields, has a Broadway pedigree (most recently the 2003 revival of Wonderful Town); no word on what exactly Butler's role will be. But anything that gets that talented girl on my TV screen is worth it.

- One of my favorite novels as a teenager was Childhood's End, the iconic story of aliens-to-Earth by the master of science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey). Lord, I really hope the movie version gets off the ground; I'd love to see what Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) would do with it. Bound to be fascinating.


- Are you perky, flaxen-haired, and moderately talented? You too can be the next star of Legally Blonde on Broadway...but you'll need to be on a reality show first. MTV is holding an open call next Monday in Orlando to cast an as-yet-unannounced reality show that will find the hit musical's next Elle Woods. The show already has a relationship with the network, of course; it aired the show in its entirety last October. (And since the original stars are all staying well into 2008, they've got time.)

- The starriest Off-Broadway show of the season just ramped up its star power. Richard Nelson's Conversations in Tusculum had already counted Tony winner Brian Dennehy (Long Day's Journey Into Night), Oscar nominee David Straithairn (Good Night and Good Luck), and Emmy winner Gloria Reuben (ER) among its number; now you can add Aidan Quinn (Legends of the Fall) to the list. The premiere at the Public Theater is already near sold-out, so if you're a Quinn fan, call for tickets quick.

- I looooove it when great actresses go highbrow. And what better choices are there for Vita and Virginia, Eileen Atkins' superb adaptation of the letters of Woolf and Sackville-West, than the elegantly demure Kathleen Chalfant (Wit, Angels in America) and Patricia Elliott (The Shadow Box). They'll be performing the play on 12 successive Monday nights at the Zipper Factory beginning February 11.

- This may mean I have to give back my show queen membership card, but I'll admit it: I don't get Elaine Stritch. I find her loud, grating, selfish, untalented and (in the half-dozen times I've met her) perpetually drunk. But most people seem to love her, and if you're one of them, you'll want to grab seats for Endgame at B.A.M. She's joining John Turturro and the great Alvin Epstein in Beckett's masterpiece, beginning April 25. (Stritch in Beckett? I'd rather have my eyes gouged out with a jackhammer.)

- Speaking of people I don't totally get: Emily Mortimer. In her many movies (this year, she's a real girl in Lars and the Real Girl) she's always struck me as a little distant, cold even. Maybe I'll feel differently when she stars Off-Broadway next month in Parlour Song at the Atlantic Theatre Company. Or maybe not.

- I was pretty excited about City Center Encores' revival of Applause before, but now that they've announced their full cast, I'm bouncing off the walls. The musical adaptation of All About Eve will feature Grey Gardens' Tony winner Christine Ebersole as Margo Channing and her Gardens co-star, Erin Davie, as Eve Harrington. But wait! The all-star lineup also includes Hedda Gabler's Kate Burton (Karen Richards), The Violet Hour's Mario Cantone (Duane Fox), The Rocky Horror Show's Tom Hewitt (Howard Benedict), and Into The Woods' Chip Zien (Buzz Richards). The five-performance run next month will be directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall (Grease, The Pajama Game).

- And finally: a certain little organization I happen to love is holding its benefit gala on February 11th, and I'm proud to say that it's going to be the glitzest night of the year. Honoring legendary producer Roger Berlind, the extravaganza -- a gala dinner and performance high above Manhattan in the renowned Rainbow Room, at the top of Rockefeller Center -- will include an original musical show starring Brian Stokes Mitchell, Donna Murphy, David Hyde Pierce, Carolee Carmello and James Naughton among many others. (I hear there might be a former Mrs. Lovett as a surprise guest, and perhaps a Bialystock on the roster...but you didn't hear it from me.) The musical director? Only Paul Gemignani, who arranged the music in the recent Sweeney Todd movie so beautifully. Tickets aren't cheap, but if you're a real fan, call 212-244-9494 ext. 5 for tickets.

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Blogger J.D. said...

Miss Page, you already have my heart, my soul, and my money. Why are you still trying to show I'm a weak human being in need of the perfect quirky soul mate?

1/17/08, 3:25 AM  
Blogger will g said...

Small correction: Paul Gemignani conducted Sweeeney. Jonathan Tunick is the master orchestrator.

1/17/08, 3:43 AM  
Blogger JA said...

You DID NOT just knock Emily Mortimer, ModFab! I'm putting my fighting pants on!

1/17/08, 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see Wolverine, Milk or Whip It! now!!!

1/17/08, 12:37 PM  
Blogger Joe Reid said...

Whatever one has to say about Emily Mortimer, you have to admit she makes for a fine spokesperson for Avian Bone Syndrome.

1/17/08, 4:52 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Michael C. Hall and Liev Schreiber? Sounds like Mr. Brilliant and I will actually be able to enjoy the same movie for a change. He can go for the comic stuff and I can go for Real Actors™.

1/19/08, 4:38 AM  

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