By Romeo San Vicente
Robert Pattinson or Naomi Watts: Which is ‘Queen of The Desert’?
Post-“Twilight,” Robert Pattinson’s career heat is leading him in some unexpected directions. Instead of continuing to cash in with above-the-title treatment in big budget Hollywood junk, the young actor has, instead, chosen to work with acclaimed filmmakers like David Cronenberg, for whom he’s currently starring in the very strange arthouse hit “Cosmopolis.” Now the former teen vampire has been cast by legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog (“Cave of Forgotten Dreams”) for “Queen of The Desert,” Herzog’s biopic about Gertrude Bell. Naomi Watts will take the role of the famous adventurer and spy often known as “the female Lawrence of Arabia,” while Pattinson will play Mr. Of Arabia himself, T.E. Lawrence (made film-famous by young Peter O’Toole). Lawrence’s sexuality has long been the subject of debate and Bell was unmarried for life in a time when women were discouraged from that sort of thing. Queer historians, start your speculations.
Gus Van Sant takes Matt Damon to The ‘Promised Land’
That untitled, in-development “Capra-esque” movie Matt Damon co-wrote with John Krasinski, the one they’re also starring in together and that Damon was going to direct but then gave up to longtime collaborator Gus Van Sant? Remember that one? It has a name now: “Promised Land.” Based on a story by Dave Eggers, author of the acclaimed memoir “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” it’s about a shake-up in the lives and values of two greedy rival Wall Street types. (And are there any who aren’t awful, or do we just not hear about them because they’re busy building Habitat for Humanity houses on the weekend?) And Focus Features is getting behind the film, which also stars Academy Award-winner Frances McDormand, for a sizeable Oscar push with a late December release and rollout into awards season. If the film is halfway decent and they play their cards right, it could be Van Sant and Damon’s next “Good Will Hunting.” And who wouldn’t like them apples?
Chloe Sevigny moves to ‘Portlandia’
Played an HIV-positive teenager? Check. A young woman in love with a transgender man? Check. A nun? A sister-wife? A transgender female assassin? Check, check, check. But to call yourself a true gay icon you really need to have comedian Drew Droege make crazy Internet videos starring as you in conceptual drag while satirizing the media’s perception of your personal life. Oh wait, check on that one, too. This, then, makes Chloe Sevigny’s every career move important. And it’s why we’re pleased to announce her arrival in “Portlandia,” the IFC “sitcom” starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein about people in Portland, Oregon. Or maybe it’s really a satire of the media’s perception of the entire city of Portland? Whatever, we just hope that in at least one upcoming episode of the new season Sevigny will play a gay male comic making Internet videos about a hipster alt-starlet. Tail, eat yourself!
‘Tootsie’ takes the stage, Hayes joins ‘Smash’
In what appears to be a now firmly entrenched trend of taking popular films and turning them into Broadway musicals, Sony Pictures has struck a five-year deal with Tony Award-winning producer Scott Sanders to transform Sony titles into stage-bound tourist pleasers. First up? “Tootsie,” the sweetly funny straight-man-in-a-dress comedy that starred Dustin Hoffman way back in 1982. No other details besides its potential existence are forthcoming, so you may now safely return to considering the future of your new TV-about-Broadway addiction, “Smash.” Sean Hayes is joining the cast for the upcoming season as a TV actor making his Broadway debut, something Hayes himself parlayed into a Tony nomination for the revival of “Promises, Promises.” As this character he will make Debra Messing’s life a living hell, so deja vu on that one, too, while adding fresh blood to an already beefed up second season cast that includes Jennifer Hudson, Daniel Sunjata (“Take Me Out”) and Jeremy Jordan (“Newsies”). Hollywood is going to make Broadway a serious thing again or die trying.