By Romeo San Vicente
Jackman sings for his suckers
Hugh Jackman has sung and danced on Broadway and on TV award shows, but soon he’ll do it on the big screen. “The Greatest Showman on Earth” tells the story of legendary circus promoter P.T. Barnum, focusing on both his life in the spotlight and his infatuation with performer Jenny Lind, “the Swedish Nightingale.” The life of the man who once noted “There’s a sucker born every minute” was previously fodder for the Broadway musical “Barnum,” but Showman will be a brand-new work, featuring a script by Jenny Bicks (“Sex and the City”) and new songs by gay-vague pop singer Mika. Producer Laurence Mark (“Showgirls”) is putting it all together, and Anne Hathaway -who sang at the Oscars with Jackman – is being eyed to play Lind. Romeo is expecting at least three rings worth of entertainment – and anti-circus PETA protests – when “Showman” hits screens in 2010.
Emily Blunt is not amused
“The Devil Wears Prada” scene-stealer Emily Blunt will get buttoned up to reenact the early days of the reign of Queen Victoria in the new film “The Young Victoria.” This costume drama looks to be a breakout movie for gay French-Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee, whose film “C.R.A.Z.Y.” – about a queer kid growing up in a nutty family in the 1960s and ’70s – was a huge hit and award-winner in its native country. “Victoria” has prestige coming out of its antimacassars: Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”) wrote the script, and the supporting cast includes Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson, Paul Bettany and Rupert Friend (“Cheri”). Premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in September, “The Young Victoria” is no doubt poised to hit Oscar-bait season with a splash when it debuts in U.S. cinemas later this year.
Rodriguez, Lohan sharpen ‘Machete’
Remember those brilliant fake trailers in “Grindhouse” for the holiday slasher movie “Thanksgiving” and other exploitation delights like “Werewolf Women of the SS”? Well, one of those coming attractions is making the leap from tongue-in-cheek parody to real movie with the announcement that Robert Rodriguez is making “Machete,” starring brutish character actor Danny Trejo as a ladies’ man and knife-wielding badass. Rodriguez has lined up an extraordinarily eclectic cast, including lesbian icon Michelle Rodriguez (no relation), post-lesbian tabloid fixture Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba (who appeared in Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City”), Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, Steven Seagal and, yes, Robert DeNiro. (Marin and Fahey also appeared in the original “Machete” trailer in “Grindhouse.”) This sounds like it’s got the potential to be one of 2010’s most oddball releases – and maybe it will inspire “Hostel”‘s Eli Roth to finally make “Thanksgiving.”
‘Ski Trip’ creator turns to TV
“Noah’s Arc” is no longer with us, and with its departure went TV’s only gay black series – until now. Maurice Jamal has created “Friends & Lovers,” a spin-off of his feature film “Ski Trip,” and it’s an L.A.-based soap about a group of frisky friends that includes everything from a sex-mad lesbian to a closeted professional athlete on the DL. “Friends” boasts an impressive cast, including the goddess herself Jackee Harry, “Mad TV” alum Debra Wilson, Terrell Carter (“Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns”) and BET reality star Ray Cunningham, whose stint on “College Hill” made him the network’s first openly gay personality. It’s always a good thing when a gay creator can make a show relating to LGBT issues, particularly tackling stories about queers of color. “Friends & Lovers” is currently being shopped to networks – and Romeo hears a deal is “thisclose”-but should find a broadcast home by 2010.