By Romeo San Vicente
Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are guys who need dolls
A “Guys and Dolls” movie with Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Is it Awesome Ideas Week or something? Because in a world of cringe-inducing announcements about this or that unnecessary remake, the thought of a classic musical getting an update with two of Hollywood’s most appealing younger actors – both of whom know their way around a song and dance – is a welcome shot of good news. Twentieth Century Fox has the rights in place to start development and both Tatum and Gordon-Levitt are reported to be interested in starring in the gangsters-meet-gamblers musical (first a Broadway staple, then a great 1955 film with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando). Of course, anyone who pays attention to the production process knows that projects in development can evaporate like a sneeze, but can some Power-Gay make this happen, please? It’d be a great way for Tatum to develop past the “Step Up”/”Magic Mike” school of bump-and-grind (something he showed while whisking Charlize Theron literally off her feet at this years Academy Awards) and needed evidence that Gordon-Levitt isn’t only good at being a member of the dancing chorus while Seth McFarlane sings “We Saw Your Boobs.” Breathless anticipation starting now.
Leighton Meester in ‘Life Partners’
Take one “Gossip Girl” – Leighton Meester as a young lesbian slacker – and one “Community” misfit – Gillian Jacob as the hetero best friend – and put them together. The result is “Life Partners,” the new film from writer-director Susanna Fogel and co-writer Joni Lefkowitz. It’s the story of what happens when the Type-A straight girl vows not to take marriage vows until her friend is legally permitted to do the same. This comedic rebuke to the forces fighting against marriage equality co-stars Mark Feuerstein (“Royal Pains”) and Kate McKinnon (hilarious lesbian and spot-on Ellen impersonator from “Saturday Night Live”) as well as Gabourey Sidibe, Abby Elliott, Beth Dover, Adam Brody and Julie White. Let’s just hope they get it in the digital editing bay, hooked up with a distributor and into theaters before that bad ol’ Defense of Marriage Act gets itself invalidated by the Supreme Court or else its reason to exist will blow away like that plastic bag in “American Beauty.” Of course, instantly dated or not, if it’s blisteringly funny it’ll have some legs. Hurry up all the same, “Life Partners,” we’re not amazingly patient.
Ready for four hours with ‘Olive Kitteridge’?
It might help if you knew what “Olive Kitteridge” is first, right? Well, it’s the title of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, a title that got the attention of Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman of Playtone. That production company will develop it into a four-hour miniseries to be directed by Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are All Right”), and Frances McDormand will star as the title character. Kitteridge is a witty but abrasive woman who observes (and, presumably, narrates or comments on) all the uncharacteristically scandalous activities taking place in her small, seemingly peaceful town on the coast of Maine – affairs, crime and other run-of-the-mill human foibles and tragedies. Richard Jenkins will play McDormand’s husband, the town pharmacist. Based on the number of characters and interwoven connections in the book, four hours might not even be quite enough time to include them all, but at least it’ll provide work for actors who can nail that specific accent found among dyed-in-the-wool, North-of-Massachusetts New Englanders. Think less Marky Mark, more “Murder She Wrote” and you’re almost there.
Hello Ross, we’re ready to watch your talk show called ‘Hello Ross’
It’s good to be funny and know Chelsea Handler. Of course, you might think that in the case of Ross Mathews, who began his chat show sidekick career freaking people out with his excellently high-pitched speaking voice (he went by “Ross The Intern”) on “The Tonight Show,” that it’d be good to be funny and know Jay Leno. But it’s actually Handler who hooks up her pals. Case in point: Mathews, who guests on the “Chelsea Lately” comics roundtable on an almost weekly basis, is spinning off into hosting territory thanks to his current boss. Handler’s production company is behind “Hello Ross,” which will premiere on E! later this year. We’re happy for Ross, who’s both funny and sweet-natured, but sooner or later his show is bound to bring up the tired old argument about masculine versus feminine gay male representation on TV. It’s inevitable. For the record, we don’t care that the author of “Man Up!” is frequently mistaken on the phone for female, as long as he makes us laugh. So make us laugh, Ross.