By Romeo San Vicente
All grown up and ready for action
Modeling since the age of 6 weeks and acting since the age of 6 years, Bella Thorne was never going to let a Disney Channel sitcom define her. She was one of the stars of that network’s kid-friendly “Shake It Up,” but now she’s 18 and ready to take on adult roles.
And if the actor’s own description of her upcoming thriller, “The Babysitter,” is any indication, her career is going to get very adult very fast. According to Thorne, she will be involved in a same-sex encounter in that film, a project she calls “controversial.” And when that’s wrapped up, she’s taking a role in the new movie from queer Canadian auteur Xavier Dolan. In “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” she’ll play Jessica Chastain’s sister and co-star alongside Kit Harington, Nicholas Hoult, Kathy Bates, Thandie Newton, and Natalie Portman. The story involves the dark side of fame, fandom and scandals that arise from both, a subject most actors know plenty about.
Viola at Tribeca
Writer-director James Lapine is a man with three Tony Awards, one of them for Best Book of a Musical for “Into The Woods.” But he hasn’t directed a theatrically released feature film since 1993’s Michael J. Fox vehicle, “Life with Mikey.” No matter, he stays busy, most recently as a co-director of the HBO documentary “Six by Sondheim.” And now his next film, “Custody,” will take a bow at the Tribeca Film Festival. Starring Viola Davis as a family court judge, the cast includes Hayden Panettiere, Ellen Burstyn, and Catalina Sandino Moreno as women whose lives intersect in the context of various custody battles. There are some men here, too, like Raul Esparza, Tony Shalhoub and Dan Fogler, as well as a bit of currently unspecified queer content, but you’ll have to watch the movie to learn about all that. It should open sometime later this year.
Coming soon: An LGBT gang documentary
The idea of “bashing back” is often more of a wish than a reality, especially when individual queer people find themselves outnumbered, experiencing violence at the hands of more than one non-LGBT abuser. But in Washington, D.C., a group of young friends between the ages of 14 and 22 decided that enough was enough. They formed Check It, which may be the first organized LGBT gang, a crew of young queer people of color who keep each other safe. They aren’t afraid of fighting back against their attackers with the same aggression they’ve been victims of themselves; nor are they afraid of the camera, cooperating with documentary filmmakers Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer (“The Nine Lives of Marion Berry”) for their project, also known as “Check It.” The movie, which will soon premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, explores the family dynamic of the gang and follows them as they build their own fashion business in the hopes of moving up and out of poverty and violence. Watch out for this one; it’s sure to start a few heated debates.
Russell Tovey makes a Pass
We assume the title of the new movie, “The Pass,” refers to several of that word’s definitions. In the British production, “Looking” star Russell Tovey plays a professional footballer (“soccer player” to you) struggling to come out of the closet and failing. So basically, he’s passing balls on the field, making passes at guys off the field, and since his character is afraid to deal with his own sexuality and would prefer not to be known as gay, he’s also passing for heterosexual. The debut feature from filmmaker Ben A. Williams — one that knows its target audience very well and does not neglect to put the actors in their underwear, so thanks, movie — “The Pass” also stars “EastEnders” regular Arinze Kene. It’s already available to be seen across the Atlantic, which means we’ll get it over here, eventually.
—Romeo San Vicente bends it like (Victoria) Beckham. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.