By Romeo San Vicente
That Katharine Hepburn biopic is finally happening
The fact that we had to have a J. Edgar Hoover movie before someone got around to a biopic about Katharine Hepburn is ridiculous, right? On that point we can agree? And since her passing, it’s become fairly clear that the great Kate was almost certainly bisexual, even if she never called it that herself. So it’s good news, just on a conceptual level, that the planned film about her life, will avoid the “greatest hits” aspect that sinks most movies about dead celebrities, and focus on her younger years and an affair with American Express heiress Laura Harding. To be helmed by lesbian filmmaker Clare Beavan (“Martina: Farewell to a Champion”) and based on the biography “Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn by William J. Mann,” the as-yet-untitled-and-uncast film is in its early stages. And for all we know a competing project may arise (that’s usually how it goes) that sticks to orthodoxy and full Spencer Tracy dominance. But let’s see if this one can get made and seen, all the same. There’s never just one story to be told.
Doing it for the kids
When celebrities aren’t performing, they have to fill their time. And it seems like most of them just take exotic vacations and sell the photo rights to tabloids. So it’s refreshing when some of them work on making the world a little better instead. Josh Hutcherson, for example, has turned his “Hunger Games” name recognition power into a partnership with The Trevor Project and, alongside organization Straight But Not Narrow, has launched “Power On.” It’s a campaign to provide rural and low-income LGBT youth with refurbished computers, tablets and phones. The goal is to provide isolated queer young people with the ability to connect to larger gay communities and it’s a terrific idea… Meanwhile, George Takei just flexed his fundraising muscle to aid “Camp Abercorn,” a web series from creators Jeffrey Simon, Meg Grgurich and Matt Andrews, about gay Boy Scouts starring Brad Leland (“Friday Night Lights,” “Leftovers”). It was Takei’s last minute-promotion that pushed the project’s online fundraising efforts over the top. Good job, famous people. We gay-salute you* (*no idea what a gay-salute looks like, just FYI).
Lee Daniels takes on ‘The Brian Banks Story’
In Hollywood, the unicorn is what gets the movie treatment. The situation you don’t expect is the story that sells tickets. In other words, former high school football star-turned-Atlanta Falcons player Brian Banks and his struggle against a false rape accusation is going to be a film. Gay director Lee Daniels will take on the project, “The Brian Banks Story,” one that has yet to be cast, and the fit is as good as any. Daniels has explored child sexual abuse (“Precious”) and rape (“The Paperboy”) before, and he’s not afraid of that sort of controversy, and this film is sure to bring it. The story of Banks, who was falsely accused of rape by a classmate and who spent five years in prison before his conviction was overturned, is essentially a horror story where the man in a male/female rape scenario is the real victim. Does that reflect the daily reality of most rapes? No. Is that offensive right from the start? Possibly. Will Daniels be able to strike the right balance and tone to avoid offending 50 percent of the moviegoing population? Let’s hope.
Patti LaBelle will get freaky on ‘American Horror Story’
Ryan Murphy loves his divas. He also loves to work with them. So it was perhaps inevitable that one of the biggest divas of all, Miss Patti LaBelle, would choose to grace the set of Murphy’s loopy hit, “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” Next season she’ll embark on a four-episode arc where she’ll play Gabourey Sidibe’s mother, a townsperson who stumbles upon the secrets of the murder-happy Twisty (John Carroll Lynch), a clown killer. That’s it for details, more or less the same amount of pre-show information we got before Stevie Nicks’ appearance. So let’s speculate and hope for: 1. singing 2. ’80s “Stir It Up” hair and 3. uncredited appearance by Michael McDonald as her private manservant. Why not?