By Romeo San Vicente
Tracy Morgan and Martin Lawrence put the fun in ‘Funeral’
When Romeo first reported on the proposed Chris Rock-led American version of the outrageous British farce “Death at a Funeral,” it was unclear as to whether the wild gay subplot would survive. But as casting begins it seems clear that the queer surprise in the black comedy’s casket is alive and well. Better yet, “30 Rock”‘s hilarious Tracy Morgan has signed on to star alongside Martin Lawrence in the comedy, due in 2010, about a dead patriarch’s funeral interrupted by mishaps, bizarre guests and the arrival of the deceased’s secret gay lover. As long as Lawrence isn’t contracted to play “Big Momma” in this version, fans of the original can rest easy. Now, which brave American actor is going to play the family member who runs around the house naked for the entire length of the film?
Cherry Jones’ sister act
Object lesson to any actor who believes that coming out will be career-damaging: Cherry Jones. The talented lesbian character actress never stops working, plays the President on “24,” was Matt Damon’s reality-checking mother in “Ocean’s 13” and won a Tony Award for her pre-Meryl Streep incarnation of Sister Aloysius on Broadway in “Doubt.” Now she’ll take on another nun role in the upcoming drama “Mother and Child” starring opposite Naomi Watts, Samuel Jackson, Kerry Washington and Annette Bening. The female-centered adoption drama is currently in production and due for release this December – aka Beg For Your Oscar Month – so the filmmakers must be pretty confident about its chances. Who knows, maybe Jones will have to clear room next to her Tony for a new golden friend.
‘Ghost’ musical to raise Broadway from the dead?
It seems that everything on Broadway is going belly up. Shows are closing faster than new ones can take their place, ticket sales are in the toilet and all seems hopeless. And it’s desperate times that lead to crazy/genius ideas like “Ghost: The Musical” taking root and flowering. The smash 1990 Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore film (for which Whoopi Goldberg won her “Color Purple” Oscar) is going to sing its way onto one of London’s West End stages sometime in 2010 and, if sufficiently crowd-pleasing, will probably make a mad dash for Broadway sometime later. The writers of “Unchained Melody” are already spending their future royalty check bump, but who’s going to pen the song about Patrick Swayze’s heartbreaking inability to express love without invoking the word “ditto?”
Neil Patrick Harris hands out TV Land Awards
If the “Harold and Kumar” movies, “How I Met Your Mother,” “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” his “SNL” appearance and his spoonbending antics on “Ellen” weren’t enough to convince you that Neil Patrick Harris is a national treasure, try this: now he’s retro-nostalgia-cable-channel TV Land’s answer to Hugh Jackman. The funny, quick-witted song-and-dance man will host April’s TV Land Awards with the requisite amount of skits, musical numbers and awards given out to shows like “Charles In Charge” and “Mama’s Family.” Expect a lot of vintage TV personalities showing up to join Harris as he tosses out non-vintage one-liners.