By Romeo San Vicente
Get ready for Oscar season’s black gay coming-of-age film, ‘Moonlight’
Quick, name more than one queer-themed movie with a black cast that made any noise outside of the LGBT film festival circuit in all the years since “Paris is Burning.” If you said “Pariah” and then got kind of stuck, well, that’s not your fault. That’s all about to change a little more for the better with the black, gay, coming-of-age drama “Moonlight.” Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” the film version (from writer-director Barry Jenkins and producer Brad Pitt) stars up-and-comer Trevante Rhodes as a young black man in 1980s Miami struggling with queer identity and the rigid codes of traditional masculinity. Early buzz is very positive, the trailer looks lovely, and the reviews will be in soon enough when it premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival. Theatrical release happens Oct. 21, just in time for awards season.
Sarah Paulson looks for love in ‘Blue Jay’
Don’t get too excited. It’s not a woman she’s necessarily looking for. But extremely cool lesbian actress Sarah Paulson will still flirt with love in this fall’s indie drama “Blue Jay.” Written by, and co-starring, Mark Duplass, and directed by first-time filmmaker Alex Lehmann (who also worked on Duplass’ sitcom, “The League”), “Blue Jay” is the story of two middle-aged people returning to their tiny California hometown. They were high-school sweethearts, now grown apart, and their meeting provides an opportunity to look at the past and come to some decisions about their mutually unhappy present. And we’re just going to assume that it’s all set in the very small community of Blue Jay, California, population approximately 2000. If it’s not, then we will have been wrong for the very first time. The film premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival and opens theatrically in October.
A gay ‘Ray’ for the CW
The CW’s digital platform, CW Seed, is introducing a gay superhero into the network’s successful DC Universe. The animated series “Freedom Fighters: The Ray,” from producer Greg Berlanti (“The Broken Hearts Club”) will premiere sometime in 2017 and will mark the first time a queer superhero has headlined a series. The character, Raymond Terrell, is a reporter who uncovers a secret project meant to turn light into a weapon of mass destruction. Exposed to the active element in the project, Ray develops light-based powers he uses to battle evil and injustice. The voice actor cast as the animated version of Ray will also appear in live action form in the CW’s “Flash”-“Arrow” universe. It’s all about interconnection these days, y’all, and it’s about time we had a gay superhero to join at least one of the ever-expanding power teams. Next move: let’s get Michelle Rodriguez a girlfriend in “Fast/Furious 9.” Or a boyfriend for The Rock. OK, OK, we’ll settle for a powerful queer villain.
Laverne Cox, Abigail Breslin join ‘Freak Show’
“Freak Show,” the YA novel by former club kid James St. James – whose book, “Disco Bloodbath,” was turned into the film “Party Monster” – is, as you might know, on its way to the big screen. It’s the story of a boldly gender-nonconforming teenager who decides to run for Prom Queen of his conservative Florida high school. Early casting included Bette Midler and AnnaSophia Robb, and now British actor Alex Lawther – who played young Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game” – will step into the main role of Billy Bloom. Additionally, the cast now includes Abigail Breslin and Laverne Cox. That’s good news in a very real way; when you’ve got trans actors and/or other creatives on a project like this, there’s less opportunity to get it wrong. We’re looking forward to this one getting it right.