By Romeo San Vicente
Dueling stars are born (one of them Lady Gaga)
Here’s a rule you can count on in the entertainment business: everybody wants to remake “A Star is Born” all the time. Why? Well, probably because it’s about that thrilling rush of ascendant glory and the horror show of crushing defeat, and it’s all wrapped up in one heaving, melodramatic package, that’s why. Also, really, short version here: why not? Therefore, it makes perfect sense that the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper-starring version goes in front of the cameras next month (with Cooper making his directorial debut). It also makes sense, in a synergistic way that will probably help both projects, that a new Broadway musical version is in development, as well. Bill Condon will take on that one – he’s the director of a little movie called “Beauty and The Beast,” the one that just took in a few hundred million dollars in its opening weekend – and it’s all early days right now. So by the time both of these projects are ready, and for all we know they might be ready at the same time, we’re going to have a diva throwdown on our hands, one that will be ageless and evergreen. And if you got that reference you’re probably quite old.
Ryan Murphy chooses his Donatella Versace: Penelope Cruz
At this point in her life, Donatella Versace – the actual one who designs clothes – must not bat an eyelash when she learns that another actor is going to portray her. There have been at least four Donatellas in popular culture to date, the two most famous being the Gina Gershon-starring “House of Versace” and Maya Rudolph’s legendary recurring comic impersonation of her on “Saturday Night Live.” Now it’s Penelope Cruz’s turn, as the Spanish actress has been cast in the upcoming “American Crime Story: Versace,” Ryan Murphy’s take on the tragic murder of Gianni Versace in 1997. A coup for Cruz, because the A-list ladies of Hollywood were vying for this one. It’s also totally deserved, as she’s one of our favorite women of the big screen. Now all you have to do is wait for 2018 to see how it all turns out.
McKinnon and Kunis track down ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’
Forgive us, but we love Kate McKinnon so much that we’d consider it fairly newsworthy if she caught a mild cold (we’d worry, like good stans do, and we’d probably send flowers). Our non-real-life relationship with her is that intense, and we won’t apologize for that. As far as we know, however, she is in perfect health and, even better for our fandom purposes, about to jump into a new film project. After proving herself the MVP of “Ghostbusters” and “Office Christmas Party,” McKinnon will star alongside Mila Kunis (“Bad Moms”) in the spy comedy, “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” A clever joke of a title that lots of people might not get because it’s based on a 40-year-old James Bond movie, “Dumped” will find the stars involved in international espionage after learning that an ex-boyfriend is also a secret agent. It gets rolling this summer with director Susanna Fogel (who co-wrote and directed the lesbian comedy “Life Partners”) and will be ready sometime in 2018, which is sooner than the next Bond, so you’ll deal.
Laverne Cox stars in ‘The Trustee’
Did you watch “Doubt”? No? Well, not many people did, sadly, which is why the legal drama was cancelled by CBS after two episodes. But if you did happen to catch it, you got to see Laverne Cox make TV history as the first transgender actress to be cast as a main trans character on a network series. Now she gets to make another kind of TV history, on ABC’s “The Trustee.” It’s a buddy cop pilot from Warner Bros. TV, one that co-stars Meaghan Rath (“Being Human,” “Banshee”), and it will see Cox playing an ex-con finishing out her sentence by working for a police department. The history part involves this character not being trans, and that’s a first. In other words, we’ve gone from no trans representation in film and TV, to trans people being the butt of jokes or victims of murder, to sympathetic portrayals by cisgender actors, to trans actors playing trans characters, to this. It’s major, and it’s good. If it goes to series, you’d better be watching.