By Romeo San Vicente
The case of the queer detective
“Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking” probably won’t ring a bell with audiences devoted to the famous fictional detective. That’s with good reason: the upcoming BBC production is a brand-new Holmes story, a follow-up to the successful 2002 remake of “Hound of the Baskervilles.” This time around, Rupert Everett is stepping into Holmes’ shoes, replacing “Baskervilles” star Richard Roxburgh (“Moulin Rouge,”) making him the first openly gay actor to play the iconic character. Ian Hart (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) will reprise his role as sidekick Watson. The film will air on BBC1 in the U.K. and have its U.S. premiere on “Masterpiece Theater” this October 23 on PBS stations – just in time to remind American audiences that they actually want the government to keep poor, beleaguered PBS around.
Sharon Gless, through ‘Thick and Thin’
If you have secretly wished your own mother was half as cool as Deb Novotny on “Queer as Folk,” you’ll be happy to know veteran actress Sharon Gless has landed on her feet in a brand new series. NBC’s “Thick and Thin” will co-star Gless as the “overweight” mom (Hollywood translation: anything bigger than size 2) of a formerly overweight young woman (“The Practice”‘s Jessica Capshaw) who comically struggles with her new thin identity and life running a Florida pool and spa business. The cast includes newcomer Amy Halloran, “Roseanne” alum Martin Mull as Gless’ husband, and “Saturday Night Live”‘s Chris Parnell as a family member who wears a superhero outfit and calls himself Captain Chlorine. The sitcom will make its debut bellyflop into the ratings pool this September.
Marry me, Mr. Mayor
Will movie audiences line up for a superhero who wears a suit and works at City Hall? New Line Cinema is banking that they will with “Ex Machina,” based on the comic-book series from creators Brian Vaughan and Tony Harris. Set in the modern world, “Machina” revolves around Mitchell Hundred, a civil engineer given superpowers after a bizarre accident. Superhero status follows, but he soon tires of his inability to right fundamental societal wrongs. That’s when he leaves it behind and becomes the mayor of New York City, where he serves the population by dealing with crises like Sept. 11 and controversies like gay marriage. That is, until a supervillain assassin begins stalking city employees, and Hundred is called back to vanquishing bad guys. No director or cast has been announced yet, so it’ll be a while before the masked bureaucrat shows up to save the day.
Almost without fanfare, Madonna is becoming a film-producing force to be reckoned with. Her Maverick Films production arm has delivered both “Agent Cody Banks” outings and has two new projects in the works – the comedies “This Is America” and “Chasing Fate.” Richard Belzer (“Law & Order: SVU”) will star in the sketch-comedy-style feature “America.” He’s also co-writing the project with a team that includes “SCTV” alum Dave Thomas, and co-producing with Mrs. Ritchie. Meanwhile “Fate” features Kip Pardue (“Thirteen”) as a man who dumps his girlfriend (“D.E.B.S.” star Jordana Brewster), only to watch her go on to fame and fortune. It’s at that moment he decides they were destined to be together after all. And no, it’s not the story of Madonna’s high-school boyfriend. Both films are in production now and due to see the light of day in 2006.