By Romeo San Vicente
‘Riverdale’ pushes Archie into the present
Greg Berlanti, the gay producing dynamo whose comic book loyalty has given TV “Arrow,” “The Flash” and “Supergirl,” is about to debut his next move. It’s a bit of a lateral one, firmly planted in comic book history, but minus the superheroes: Archie. The new CW series, “Riverdale,” will update the Archie gang in a live-action series that will be part teen drama, part mystery, and much more sexy than you ever remember these characters being (this is the CW, after all). Developing the show with Berlanti is producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Looking”), and the pair have stated that they look to cinematic influences like “The Virgin Suicides” for the tone of the series, which will star New Zealand actor K.J. Apa as Archie, a racially diverse cast as the rest of the gang, Luke Perry as Archie’s dad, and newcomer Casey Cott as Riverdale’s gay teen, Kevin Keller. We’ll be listening for the slowed-down, minor-key cover version of “Sugar Sugar” to pop up somewhere during the murder mystery montages when the show comes to the CW sometime in 2017.
‘A Wrinkle In Time’ adds Rowan Blanchard to cast
Rowan Blanchard, the 15-year-old “Girl Meets World” actress who came out as non-specifically queer earlier this year, has joined the all-star cast of Ava DuVernay’s (“13th,” “Selma”) upcoming fantasy-adventure epic “A Wrinkle In Time.” The film, a big budget adaptation of the classic Madeleine L’Engle novel, is about a young brother and sister sent into space to find their missing father, and the cast is a very cool mix of veterans and up-and-comers. “Pan”‘s Levi Miller and newcomer Storm Reid will be joined by Blanchard and big names like Zach Galifianakis, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Pena, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine and Oprah Winfrey. This is the kind of diversity that flies in the face of traditional mostly-white Hollywood casting and it’s a welcome breath of fresh air. And with DuVernay’s reputation as a sure-handed filmmaker, it almost feels like an easy bet to say the finished product will be worth your time. Now wait until 2018 to find out.
Get excited about ‘Untitled Mother-Daughter/Action Comedy Project’
We kind of wish that “Untitled Mother-Daughter/Action Comedy Project” was the actual title of the latest film from Jonathan Levine (“The Night Before,” “50/50”). But we’re pretty sure its current generic status isn’t going to last. The film, co-written by Kim Caramele (“Trainwreck”), Katie Dippold (“Parks and Recreation”) and Amy Schumer, will star Schumer and Goldie Hawn as the “Mother-Daughter.” And while the plot is being kept strictly under wraps, we do know that it will involve “action” and “comedy,” which is pretty much all we need to know right now to be interested. Mostly, though, we’re happy that Wanda Sykes is in it and she won’t simply be voicing a prehistoric muskrat. The woman deserves screentime as herself and we are Team Her every step of the way. Finally, it doesn’t hurt that the very funny Randall Park (“Fresh Off The Boat”) and our O.G. “Oz” crush Christopher Meloni are also on board. When this one finally graduates to a project with a title and it winds up in theaters (2017, they say), it’ll be up to you to put two and two together.
Chloe Grace Moretz winds up in conversion therapy
Desiree Akhavan has a new project. The acclaimed young writer, director and star of the Sundance hit “Appropriate Behavior” (a semi-autobiographical comedy about a queer Persian woman and her complicated relationships) will tackle “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” and Chloe Grace Moretz is set to star. Based on Emily Danforth’s coming-of-age novel of the same name, the story follows a young high school girl in 1993, who is sent to gay conversion therapy after she’s caught with the prom queen. Moretz plays Cameron, and “American Honey”‘s breakout star Sasha Lane will play her best friend at the conversion therapy clinic. We’re not sure of the tone this one will take, if it will veer toward comedic satire or straightforward drama, but it’s a topic that’s highly relevant right now, since the current U.S. Vice President-elect, Mike Pence, is a firm supporter of gay conversion therapy, which is a form of torture for any LGBT person forced into it. Never forget it.