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Deep Inside Hollywood – August 8, 2014

Romeo San Vicente | Q Syndicate

Tom Hardy + Leonardo DiCaprio? Let’s hope.

Alt-Hollywood’s current “It Woman” of producers, Megan Ellison, is known for taking creative risks for meaningful films in a time when big studios run screaming from that sort of thing. As the head of Annapurna, the young lesbian mogul has produced Academy Award-nominated films like Spike Jonze’s “Her,” and now she’s negotiating to swoop in and rescue Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest starring vehicle, “The Revenant.”

Tom Hardy may soon be trapping some furs with Leo, if we’re lucky. (Courtesy Shutterstock.com)

Tom Hardy may soon be trapping some furs with Leo, if we’re lucky. (Courtesy Shutterstock.com)

The project, from acclaimed director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Babel”), has run into funding trouble and it seems like Annapurna would be a good fit for the offbeat story. Co-written by Inarritu with Mark L. Smith, and based on Michael Punke’s 2002 novel, “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge,” it’s about a 19th century fur trapper’s survival in the brutal wilderness. DiCaprio wants in, and so does shirtless “Esquire” cover star Tom Hardy, so why isn’t a big studio helping out? Who knows, probably because there’s no bikini-wearing robot riding dinosaur into space. But that’s why Ellison is so valuable — she supports filmmakers as artists in a business that treats them like obstacles to merchandizing. Fingers crossed for this one.

Back to school with HBO and Susan Sontag

We may be past the moment in history when an intellectual culture critic like Susan Sontag could become a household name. But during her life, the late lesbian thinker and writer became exactly that. What’s that, you say? She’s not a household name to you? Well, then HBO has the fix for that: “Regarding Susan Sontag,” a thoroughly engaging documentary from director Nancy Kates, follows the late feminist literary icon from her teenage days reading Proust to her long career as a novelist, professor, critic and all-around high/low-culture rock star. The film also follows Sontag from her very young marriage to a man to her many notable female lovers through the decades, including her last long-term partner, photographer Annie Leibovitz. Along the way she shook up American life with her provocative ideas about art, war, sexuality, literature and politics, and “Regarding Susan Sontag” is a thoughtful, funny, warts-and-all primer for newcomers and a fitting eulogy for long time admirers. HBO airs the film this fall, just in time for jumpstarting your beach-brain back into gear for serious thoughts.

Sean Hayes joining “The Millers”

Let’s talk about sitcoms you’re probably not watching. What would make you jump aboard? A new cast member? A new cast member in collaboration with an already-talented sitting cast? That’s what’s happening with “The Millers,” which is a big enough hit for CBS (right, yes, a sitcom on CBS, we know) that it’s been renewed for a new season, even though it would appear that nobody in a position to make cultural noise about it is watching — think about it: “Louie” blows up Twitter, so does “Archer,” but when was the last CBS sitcom that did that for reasons other than Charlie Sheen? And “The Millers” has a cool cast, including Will Arnett and America’s best character actress, Margo Martindale (“August, Osage County”). And still, crickets. That means it’s time for a change in the form of Sean Hayes, who’ll be joining the cast this year as a friend to Martindale’s character and a thorn in Arnett’s side. Sounds promising, yes? Because at least it wasn’t an adorable/obnoxious new child character? Therefore, in the spirit of fairness and in memory of “Just Jack,” we’ll give this one another shot. Don’t blow it (and more importantly don’t bore us), “The Millers.” You’re on notice.

Rosie’s back. Let the fighting begin!

Speaking of bringing in a ringer to save a sinking ship, the news about Rosie O’Donnell coming back to “The View” has turned into the infotainment/power-lesbian/grumpy pundit story of the week, and with it, speculation over who else will join the panel in the wake of Sherri Shepherd’s and Jenny McCarthy’s departures. It hasn’t been sitting well with former “View” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, of course, who’s been sniping about the return of her TV nemesis. And that, in turn, has caused former co-host Joy Behar to publicly snap back at Hasselbeck. Meanwhile, original co-host Meredith Vieira is weighing in, too, and now it’s just like the good old days of shouting and crosstalk and sour grapes. Suddenly we’re all remembering that “The View” is a show that’s still on TV! Now, which conservative woman wants to spar with O’Donnell every day? Step right up, Palin wannabes! Unless, of course, you come from reality television. Then, apparently, you’re out of luck. See, word is that Rosie’s contract bars former reality stars from consideration. Sorry, all future Hasselbecks.

—Romeo San Vicente has never discriminated against reality stars; they’re hungry for experience. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.

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