By Romeo San Vicente
Viggo Mortensen & Kirsten Dunst are ‘The Two Faces of January’
Eventually they’ll run out of Patricia Highsmith books to adapt into films, but until that day, the late bisexual author’s body of work continues to make for great entertainment of the rich-people-plus-crime variety. Currently in production is “The Two Faces of January,” based on Highsmith’s 1964 novel and starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst. Set in Greece and France, the psychological thriller concerns a con man (Mortensen) who accidentally kills a Greek police officer. The con man’s wife (Dunst) and a stranger (Oscar Issac) help to cover up the incident before fleeing the country in some really impeccable period costumes. And if all of that sounds more than a little bit like “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” give or take a handful of details, that’s because Highsmith wrote that one, too. The film is set for a late 2013 release. Make sure your shoes are properly shined and your necktie is knotted just-so before then.
New gay HBO pilot: the names behind the camera
Some people call it jumping the gun when you talk about a show with no cast yet. But when the behind the scenes people are accomplished and generate excitement all by themselves, it’s never too early to start buzzing. Proof: HBO has picked up a comedy pilot about three thirtysomething gay friends in San Francisco. Title? Not yet. Actors? Nope. But it’s from creators David Marshall Grant (“Brothers and Sisters”) and Sarah Condon (“Bored to Death”), written by Michael Lannan (assistant director of James Franco’s upcoming experimental “sequel” to the film “Cruising” called “Interior. Leather Bar.”). The pilot will be directed by acclaimed “Weekend” filmmaker Andrew Haigh, whose presence alone is cause for confidence. True, if you’re not already paying attention to who actually makes and produces the gay-themed shows and films you love then these aren’t names you’ll know. But you should. And if this thing goes to cable you will. Look, nobody used to know who Lena Dunham was, either.
Bravo plans to keep up with ‘The Joneses’
It’s okay if you never saw “The Joneses.” The Demi Moore/David Duchovny comedy caper came to movie theaters and left quickly after with very few tickets sold. The story was intriguing, though. A picture perfect family moves into an upscale neighborhood and makes fast friends with families in the community, helpfully sharing tips and hints about this or that new gadget or product they happen to be using at home. And why? Because they’re not a real family. They’re actors playing a family for marketing research and development, gathering information and selling, selling, selling. Even the kids (one of whom is gay and closeted for the role) are part of the corporate brand-building team. Well, if at first you don’t succeed there’s always a reboot, which is just what Bravo has ordered, intending to turn “The Joneses” into a weekly series. No cast is set yet but the creators are adapting the scenario for the long haul. If it works it might just fill the void left behind by the departing drug-dealing-in-the-suburbs sitcom “Weeds.” And if it doesn’t then nobody can say they didn’t try. Twice.
‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ this time with more singing
If we learned any lessons from the all-singing stage adaptations of “Les Miserables” and “Carrie,” it’s that just about anything, for better or worse, has musical theater potential. Even the Spice Girls have their own jukebox show happening right now in London. That’s why it’s not really much of a shock to hear that Guillermo Del Toro’s critically acclaimed cult hit, the horror-fantasy-historical-drama “Pan’s Labyrinth,” is gearing up to serenade you, monster-style, in the near future. The story of a young girl in 1944 Fascist Spain who finds a hiding place from her cruel army officer stepfather by retreating to her own fantasy world of horrible creatures, “Labyrinth”‘s stage life has been quietly taking shape for a few years now and del Toro has already co-written the book. Meanwhile, Paul Williams and Gustavo Santaolalla (composer of “Brokeback Mountain”‘s score) are on board to write music and lyrics. The costumes for the sheer variety of creatures alone cry out for the Julie Taymor treatment. And if and when it all comes together (Note to “Smash”: promote this thing!) it’ll make for a genuinely freaky Tony Awards broadcast.