Romeo San Vincente | QSyndicate
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin
“Nine To Five” fanatics, are you ready to have your day made? Sure you are, and Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are about to do it.
The two have signed on for “Grace and Frankie,” a Netflix original half-hour comedy series from “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris. The show already has a 13-episode order and stars the venerable actresses as arch-nemeses who find themselves having to mend fences when their respective husbands come out as gay and leave them. For each other.
Because it’s Netflix the show gets to be as adult as it wants — think “Orange is The New Black” — and, though it’s never good to jinx a project with sentiments like “How can this fail?” it’s got Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in it, so the answer is … it can’t. Now all that needs to happen during that first of many seasons is a Dolly Parton walk-on role as a Dolly Parton impersonator.
Hey kids, Willem Dafoe’s going to play Pasolini!
Not ringing a bell? OK, then. Italian filmmaker, poet and intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini, born in 1922, was one of the greatest directors of the 20th century, as praised for religious-themed dramas such as “The Gospel According to Matthew” as he was condemned for the sex and torture-filled “Salo: 120 Days of Sodom.” He was also openly gay and died under mysterious circumstances (run over repeatedly with his own car) in 1975. So it’s fitting that a partnership between two men not unacquainted with controversy, director Abel Ferrara (“Bad Lieutenant”) and Willem Dafoe (“The Last Temptation of Christ”), will result in the biopic “Pasolini.” Set during the last days of the director’s life, it’s currently filming in Italy and will probably see a wave of film festival inclusion sometime by the end of this year or beginning of 2015. This gives you plenty of time to get your auteur homework done. Just don’t blame us if “Salo” gives you nightmares.
Neil Patrick Harris is “Gone,” Girl
On the occasion of their fifth wedding anniversary, a husband reports his wife as missing, and so begins the mystery at the heart of Gillian Flynn’s worldwide best-selling novel “Gone Girl.” The much-anticipated film adaptation is also underway from acclaimed director David Fincher (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”) and the ensemble cast is set: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike playing the couple, joined by Scoot McNairy (“Non-Stop”), Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, Sela Ward, “Happy Endings”’ Casey Wilson, Missi Pyle, Kim Dickens and, returning to serious drama after years of comedy and music, Neil Patrick Harris.
Call it a return to his roots, the days of “Clara’s Heart” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” when the young actor was all about keeping a straight face, as it were. Maybe Fincher will turn him into identical twins like Armie Hammer in “The Social Network”? Then one of them can still sing and tell jokes.
“The Comeback” coming back?
Chances are you’re a fan of “The Comeback” — the HBO sitcom that starred Lisa Kudrow as a failed sitcom star named Valerie Cherish who does whatever it takes to get another shot at fame — but probably didn’t see it when it first aired nearly 10 years ago. It was cancelled after one season, in spite of Emmy nominations and critical praise, but in the past decade the show’s developed a cult following and now HBO might be in the mood to give “Comeback” a comeback of its own.
Currently negotiating with creators Kudrow and Michael Patrick King to go back into production, it appears that the network is planning to position it as a limited series/event-style presentation, picking up Kudrow’s character where she is a decade later. Kudrow’s brainstorming ideas for the clueless Valerie: possibly taking some acting classes or appearing on a “Real Housewives” series. Deals aren’t done yet, but it’s all looking very likely. And really, wouldn’t it be nice if the striving Valerie finally got her shot after all?
Brad Pitt’s undead reunion
Remember in “World War Z” when Brad Pitt figured out how to dispense with those zombies that killed pretty much everyone except Brad Pitt and his pals? Well, obviously, when nearly half a billion dollars in box office receipts roll in, they manage to find a stray zombie or 12 still lurking in a sewer somewhere. So here comes the sequel (“WWZ2”? “WWZ, Too”? “WWAA”? Just guessing…), starring Pitt and a batch of fresh undeads, but not directed by “Z” helmer Marc Forster. He’s out, thanks to what is most likely a confirmation of those feud rumors that circulated about him and Pitt, and in is gay director Juan Antonio Bayona. The Spanish filmmaker, who gave us the tsunami thriller “The Impossible,” will step in for the next installment after a script materializes and, more importantly, after he wraps up duties on “A Monster Calls,” his new film about a young boy who enlists a tree monster to help him deal with his mother’s terminal illness. Provided you’re not fully sick of the zombie genre by then, look for “WWWhatever” to show up sometime in 2016.
—Romeo San Vicente’s ratings remain solid, and he’s is very successful at cutting in. He can be reached care of this publication or at firstname.lastname@example.org.