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Deep Inside Hollywood – April 18, 2014

Posted: April 18th, 2014 | Columns, Deep Inside Hollywood, Featured, News | No Comments

Romeo San Vicente | Q Syndicate

Another Stonewall movie about Stonewall

“Stonewall,” the 1995 indie hit starring Guillermo Diaz (“Scandal”), told the stories of a group of gay men who lived through that important historical uprising. Well, guess what? Now another movie about the Stonewall riots is on the way and it’s called “Stonewall,” too, because nobody has any ideas left in their heads. Or something. playwright/screenwriter Jon Robin Baitz (“The West Wing,” “Brothers and Sisters”) has penned the script and power-player Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”) has signed on to direct. There’s no cast yet but we’ll keep you informed as that moves along. Regarding the title, we prefer something that shouts out to the drag queens and hustlers who actually did the fighting back, but maybe this is all about that synergy thing marketers talk about. As long as nobody has to fight aliens or the apocalypse we’ll be satisfied with any level of historical accuracy.

Stiller’s “Magic Mike” phase

“I Am Chippendale,” the film to be written and directed by Alan Ball (“Six Feet Under,” “True Blood”), will tell the outlandish life story of the late Somen “Steve” Banerjee, an immigrant who came to Los Angeles, pumped gas, then ran a nightclub that would evolve into the Chippendales brand, which sparked the male strip club craze of the 1980s. Adapting the screenplay from the Rodney Sheldon book, Ball is now in talks with Ben Stiller, who may sign on to play choreographer Nick de Noia, the man Banerjee was arrested for murdering in the late ’80s. More casting is in the works, so when we learn which young male actors will be taking off their clothes for this one, you’ll be dutifully informed.

Madge’s on the job training

Madonna’s first feature film as director, “Filth and Wisdom,” was so bad that the official publicity line now is that “it never existed.” Seriously, just check around the Internet for people calling 2011’s “W.E.” her directorial debut, as though saying it enough times will erase history. And unfortunately, though “W.E.” was leaps and bounds better than “Filth,” it, too, suffered a critical and commercial drubbing. Is that stopping Madonna from continuing her quest to make movies? Yeah, right, silly question. The Material Auteur will next shoot “Ade: A Love Story,” based on the novel by Rebecca Walker. In it, a college student falls in love with a young Swahili man and the two prepare to live together in Kenya, only to find their plans disrupted by civil war. Producer Bruce Cohen (“American Beauty,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Milk”) is in the middle of the financing stage, with a script to follow. But be sure of this: Ms. Ciccone doesn’t sit around letting people tell her she’s not good enough. She goes and does it. And at this rate, eventually she’ll make a film that people will want to watch.

James Franco (Courtesy FeatureFlash)

James Franco (Courtesy FeatureFlash)

James Franco goes ex-gay

The whole Instagram thing where he may or may not have hit on a 17-year-old girl? Then the whole thing of how that might have been an elaborate hoax? Those were our favorite James Franco headlines of “then.” Our favorite James Franco headline of “now” is that he’s back to pretending to be gay, and also ex-gay — in movies, anyway. Currently on Broadway in “Of Mice and Men,” Franco’s headed back to films this summer in a new feature from Gus Van Sant. The untitled project is based on the experience of Michael Glatze, a gay activist who chose to live as heterosexual after a health scare and experiencing a religious conversion. Now married to a woman and living relatively quietly in the Midwest, Glatze once worked as a gay activist and for the staff of gay youth magazine “XY.” Van Sant and Franco will begin shooting this July for a 2015 release. We think it should be called “Interior. Church Pot Luck.”

Steven Spielberg wants to make a musical you’ve already seen

Maria, Steven Spielberg has just met a girl named Maria. Oh, all right, no, he hasn’t. He met her a long time ago, just like you did. And he fell in love with her, just like you did. In fact, the only difference between you and Steven Spielberg in this scenario is that you aren’t planning to remake Maria’s world, aka “West Side Story.” A long time ago, during that wild Cantonese musical number in “Temple of Doom,” maybe you thought, “What if Steven Spielberg made a musical?” Spielberg probably thought that himself. But nobody could have guessed he’d set his sights on remaking one of the most beloved musicals of all time. So … yeah … look, who knows, you know? It’s early days yet, still in the “he has expressed interest” stage, which means it might never happen. But then again it might. The man tends to do as he pleases. We’ll be waiting and watching — and hoping and praying he gets a different idea.

Henson to be  queen of Daniels’ “Empire”

Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson is returning to television (or at least pilot season) with Lee Daniels for a new hip-hop-themed drama called “Empire.” It’ll star Terrence Howard, with whom Henson shared the big screen in “Hustle & Flow,” as Lucious Lyon, a hip-hop star and record label CEO; Henson will take the role of his ex-wife and former business partner “Cookie,” an ex-con ready to make a fresh start. Together they’ll navigate the business (Malik Yoba and “Precious” Gabourey Sidibe co-star, too) and family life as they deal with having a gay teenage son (Jussie Smollett). Created and produced by Daniels with Danny Strong and Brian Grazer, it can’t sail through the first round of TV draft picks fast enough, given the woeful lack of well-made African-American dramas on the tube, much less one as critically acclaimed as, say, “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men.” And, no, that Tyler Perry soap opera doesn’t count.

—Romeo San Vicente has therapeutically assisted a lot of ex-gays. Romeo. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.

 

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