By Romeo San Vicente
Ellen Page: ‘Lioness’
Ellen Page’s next project is called “Lioness,” and it sounds like the kind of film we need a lot more of. She’ll play US Marine Corps Lance Corporal Leslie Martz, a real-life American soldier in Afghanistan, and leader of a Female Engagement Team. Her job was to work with Afghan women, provide them with skills that would allow them to become more independent, and to gain secret information about their husbands, most of whom were Taliban. Martz’s story took place during the time of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” however, so her second battle, as a lesbian, was with the very military she was serving. It also makes the story something of a period piece, even if the hairstyles don’t have to change. The film was written by Rosalind Ross (the El Rey Network’s action series “Matador”) with more casting and director to come. Until then, at ease.
Tig Notaro is ‘Punching The Clown’
Still don’t know who Tig Notaro is? You will, and very soon. “Tig,” the documentary about the lesbian stand-up comic’s year of cancer and heartbreak, a brutal rough patch that galvanized her career, brought her immense amount of media attention. The film made her, ironically enough, funnier and more successful than ever, and is already up and streaming on Netflix after premiering at Los Angeles’s Outfest. Building on this buzz, she’ll co-star in the indie feature “Still Punching The Clown,” from comic Henry Philips and co-writer/director Gregori Viens. Philips, whom you may know from “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” stars as a – what else? – stand-up comic struggling to make it. The film co-stars Sarah Silverman, Academy Award-winner J.K. Simmons, Mike Judge, Michaela Watkins and Clifton Collins Jr. Look for it to punch its way into arthouse theaters later this year.
‘Babadook’ director takes on lesbian tragedy
For her next project, Jennifer Kent, the filmmaker behind last year’s critically acclaimed horror indie “The Babadook,” is taking on a different sort of horror: the destruction of 19th-century lesbians in “Alice + Freda Forever.” Based on the non-fiction book by Alexis Coe, “Alice + Freda Forever” concerns 19-year-old Alice Mitchell, a Tennessean who pretended to be a man in order to marry her 17-year-old girlfriend, Freda Ward. Separated by force after their love letters were discovered, Alice slashed Freda’s throat with a razor, and was then committed to a mental hospital (for both the attack and for the “insanity” of lesbianism) where she died a few years later. The case became one of the tabloid tragedies of the era, and was responsible for cementing the idea of lesbians as violent, frustrated men in the culture. So… not exactly reflective of the current love-fest surrounding same-sex marriage, but in Kent’s capable hands, it’s going to make a fascinating film.
Somebody is still watching ‘Project Runway.’ Is it you?
We have never given up on loving “Project Runway.” Sure, it hasn’t produced a viable fashion professional since Christian Siriano – and that was so long ago people were still throwing the word “tranny” around on broadcast television and somehow getting away with it – but no matter, we love all the stitching and bitching and the way Tim Gunn has gone from most-valuable-sideman to Boss of Everybody. Heidi Klum, Zac Posen and Nina Garcia are back, of course, and the list of guest judges is, as usual, a mix of people whose opinions matter and those who have something to promote, even if it’s only the urgent message that they still exist. They include Kiernan Shipka – who apparently transformed into an adult when we turned our head for a second – as well as Paula Patton, Bella Thorne, Tracee Ellis Ross, Ashley Tisdale, Coco Rocha, Ciara, designer Lisa Perry and Spice Girl Mel B, among others. The new season begins Aug. 6, and remember: don’t bore Nina.