By Romeo San Vicente
Darren Criss as Cunanin in ‘American Crime Story: Versace’
Ryan Murphy cannot seem to lose. “American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson” cleaned up in the ratings, with critics, and with awards-giving bodies. Next stop, then? More of all that, most likely. The just-announced “American Crime Story: Versace” will tackle the tragic 1997 assassination of fashion designer Gianni Versace at the hand of gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan. After a murder spree that took four other victims, young Cunanan shot Versace, then killed himself eight days later on a houseboat as police moved in on him. The script for “Versace,” from Tom Rob Smith (“London Spy”), is based on Maureen Orth’s true crime book, “Vulgar Favors,” and Murphy himself will direct the first episode of the 10-hour series. Meanwhile, Edgar Ramirez (“The Girl on The Train”) has been cast as Gianni Versace and “Glee” alum Darren Criss will work against type and play the murderous Cunanan. Fans of the other version of Criss will always have their YouTube clips of him singing “Teenage Dream” to keep them warm at night.
‘Jawbreaker,’ back and bigger than ever
Back in 1999, maybe you saw and loved the otherwise under-appreciated teen movie “Jawbreaker.” And then maybe you watched it, say, several dozen or more times in the past 18 years. You would not be alone. The wild comedy from gay filmmaker Darren Stein – which starred Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz and Judy Greer – has earned itself cult film status over the years, thanks to kids (and post-kids) who stayed hungry for routine doses of adolescent snark, the kind seen in like-minded movies such as “Heathers,” “Mean Girls” and “Clueless.” Lucky all of us, then, that E! has decided to take the property and start developing “Jawbreaker” as a TV series. Described by the network as a “wild reimagining of the teen cult classic set in the fame-obsessed world of Beverly Hills,” it centers on “a new clique whose world is rocked by an accidental murder at a bachelorette party.” And you know what? It’s working for “Riverdale,” so if this is a new trend, bring it on. Other teen movie pun intended. You’re welcome.
Ralph Fiennes dances with Nureyev
Two-time Academy Award nominated and BAFTA winner Ralph Fiennes (“A Bigger Splash”) has announced his next directorial effort, “The White Crow.” The screenplay from David Hare (“The Hours”) is based on Julie Kavanagh’s biography “Rudolf Nureyev: The Life.” The bisexual ballet star, a man who defied expectations placed on male dancers in both the ballet world and in life, died from AIDS complications in the early 1990s, but this isn’t that story. Instead, the tale of Nureyev’s defection from the USSR to Paris in 1961 is what’s on the menu. Russian dancer Oleg Ivenko will play Nureyev and Palme d’Or winner Adele Exarchopoulos (“Blue is The Warmest Color”) will play Nureyev’s close friend Clara Saint, who helped not only to convince the dancer to leave his homeland behind, but to put the plan into action. Shooting begins this summer in St. Petersburg and Paris, most likely for a 2018 release.
Jodie Foster checks into ‘Hotel Artemis’
Jodie Foster has acted in a grand total of two films in the past seven years. She starred in “Carnage” in 2011, and hasn’t been seen on screen since 2013’s disappointing “Elysium.” This causes us cinematic distress, quite frankly, because we love her and always will. She is High Classic Lesbian and we need her more than ever. Good news, then, that she’s signed on for the directorial debut of Drew Pearce, the TV producer and music video director, who’s written a script called “Hotel Artemis.” The futuristic thriller’s plot is being kept under wraps, but the trickle of information we do have involves Foster playing a nurse in an underground hospital that houses dangerous criminals. We don’t know exactly how one goes about setting up an underground hospital, as the ambulance noise in and out of the ER seems like it might give away the location more or less immediately, but we’re going to go with this story for the sake of art. Foster learns that one of her patients has come to the hospital to assassinate another one, and boom, there’s your story. Signed on to co-star is “Guardians of the Galaxy” beef-slab and ardent hetero ally Dave Bautista (he has queer family and can be enjoyed on the internet talking trash about homophobes in the most delightful way). And that’s all we know. This project is in development right now, which means 2018 is the earliest we might set eyes and ears on it. So we’ll keep waiting patiently for the return of our favorite lady.