By Romeo San Vicente
Mama Mia, get ready for more ‘Mamma Mia’
The question is not why they’re making a sequel to “Mamma Mia!” The 2008 smash grossed over $600 million worldwide, after all. The question is why it took so long to get here. It’s been nearly a decade since Meryl Streep and pals warbled ABBA tunes in the service of some kind of plot – truthfully, we forgot what the movie was even about and so did you – and we wondered if anyone would ever have the nerve to say, “You know what? We need even more of that.” But in a world where “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” was an easy decision, perhaps we shouldn’t have wondered so much; it was always going to happen, just as soon as La Streep’s calendar cleared. The cast is back: Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan and most likely some of the rest, singing other songs from the Swedish Beatles’ back catalog (and probably a couple of reprises of tunes from last time). And in 2018 you will go buy a ticket. You know you will. This is your next Waterloo, and Pierce Brosnan’s singing voice is the secret slaying force.
ABC jumps on the musical bandwagon with ‘The Little Mermaid’
Would anyone have ever predicted that the hot thing on TV in 2017 would be dueling Broadway musicals, done live? That an innovative staging of “Grease” would win over television critics and audiences? That old-fashioned musical theater would captivate the nation? Well, it did, predictions be hanged, and now ABC is climbing aboard. The network will revive its “Wonderful World of Disney” brand and kick off what is certain to be an ongoing series of special broadcasts with “The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live!” A celebrity-packed cast will be announced as soon as the ink is dry on their contracts. And the clock is already ticking: the airdate is scheduled for Oct. 3 and the network promises an interesting twist on the format, one that will mix live action with animation. We’re intrigued, Disney. Now please entice us with some stars.
‘Fly’ girls ready for takeoff
Based on real events, the in-development series “Fly” promises something refreshingly different. Set in Atlanta, it’s the story of the first commercial airline flight crew staffed entirely with African-American women. Their lives and careers, and the obstacles they face, will form the ongoing narrative, and the cast will include TV vets Tatyana Ali (“The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”), Bruce Boxleitner (“Babylon 5”), Cristian de la Fuente (“Devious Maids”), Valarie Pettiford (“The Blacklist”), as well as Ja Rule, Mindy Cohn, Cicely Tyson, Marla Gibbs, Todd Bridges, “Glee” star Amber Riley, and the show’s creator, former child actor Rae’Ven Kelly, taking control of her own projects starting here. This women-driven enterprise will also feature behind the scenes talent like lesbian filmmaker Aurora Guerrero, whose 2012 feature “Mosquita y Mari” was a hit at Sundance and an LGBT festival staple. “Fly” is shooting now and waiting for a network pickup, but that wait will certainly not be very long. We’re looking forward to this one for 2018.
Buckle up For ‘The Secret History of Hollywood’
Did you get a chance to pick up 2012’s trashiest memoir, “Full Service: My Adventures In Hollywood and The Secret Sex Lives of The Stars”? Not yet, you say? Well, summer’s here and the time is right, as it were. But if you’d rather wait for the documentary film on the subject, well, the time is almost right for that, too. Scotty Bowers, now 93 years old and the author of “Full Service,” was a World War II vet who came to Hollywood and quickly fell in with a circle of queer movie stars, all of whom were looking for sex on the down low. Bisexual, hungry and ready to make friends and money, Bowers arranged the liaisons (and often participated) and took notes. Now, documentary filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer (“Valentino: The Last Emperor”) has the movie version ready, titled “Scotty and The Secret History of Hollywood,” and there was a buyer’s screening at the recent Cannes Film Festival. That means there’s no distributor just yet. But salacious sells, and so it’s only a matter of time before your local LGBT film festival gets its hot hands on this hotter property.