By Romeo San Vicente
“Three Generations” puts trans teen story in spotlight
British filmmaker Gaby Dellal, mostly known for her work as a director and actor in the U.K., just found herself in the middle of the deal-making world of the Cannes Film Festival. Her feature, “Three Generations” was the object of a $6 million buy from The Weinstein Company, who’ll now distribute it in the United States. And the story is a timely one: a transgender teenager (Elle Fanning) begins the process of identifying as male, while the young man’s single mother (Naomi Watts) and lesbian grandmother (Susan Sarandon) do what they can to help.
It has all the earmarks of a high-quality production, but will it be well received by trans audiences, who’ve become much more vocal lately about the cisgender (non-trans) casting choices employed in most trans stories? That’s the hope. But with the pool of real trans actors growing and their employment on the rise (“Orange is the New Black,” “The Fosters,” “Transparent”), the clock is ticking on how long this sort of thing can continue unquestioned.
The O.J. show is coming. You ready?
“American Crime Story,” the new series created by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, is on its way, filling the void left by “Glee” and — oh, wait, it’s not a musical? It’s not even occasionally a musical, like that one time when Stevie Nicks guested on “American Horror Story”? Well … we might still watch it, if only because the first season will be devoted entirely to the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the cast is just oddball enough: Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, as well as Sarah Paulson, John Travolta, David Schwimmer, Courtney B. Vance, Jordana Brewster, Selma Blair, Billy Magnussen, Connie Britton, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Kenneth Choi, Evan Handler and Cheryl Ladd (!), all recreating the Trial of the Century. And when it airs in 2016 we’ll find out if they convinced Travolta to sing something. You know he’d be into it.
Seasons of “Love” with Anthony Rapp and Kate Walsh
The gay indie film is in a weird place these days. There are more of them than ever, some good and some bad, and yet few of them, regardless of quality, seem to make much impact unless they come front-loaded with well known names in front of or behind the camera. That means it’s all on you, Kate Walsh and Anthony Rapp, best known for “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Rent,” respectively; you are the pair who’ll have to carry the weight of “Modern Love” on your shoulders, and we hope you’re up to the task. The film is from first time feature writer-director Joshua Tunick and it’s a small ensemble comedy starring Walsh and Rapp (as well as “Mean Girls” alum Jonathan Bennett), and it’s about a group of friends who help out a gay couple when their wedding plans hit the rocks. It starts shooting in June and that ought to put it in position for the 2016 festivals where, fingers crossed, the right people will 1) Like it. 2) Buy it. And 3) Get it out to the world of real audiences.
“The fifth Beatle” was gay
Brian Epstein was the manager of The Beatles. He discovered them performing in a basement in Liverpool, England, and rode with them on the wave of massive success that followed. Another fact about Epstein: he was gay. And he struggled with that. It was the 1960s, after all, when just being gay was still illegal in America and the United Kingdom. Not exactly an easy life, no matter how much money you had or cultural capital you possessed. At age 32 he died of a drug overdose. A biography in graphic novel form, the acclaimed “The Fifth Beatle,” by Vivek J. Tiwary, is on bookstore shelves right now, and it has a fan in Simon Cowell, who plans to produce the film version. Tiwary has written a screenplay and will co-produce. And that’s everything right now: no director or stars just yet. So this one will keep developing.
—Romeo San Vicente auditioned to be the sixth Backstreet Boy. But dreams sometimes die. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.