By Romeo San Vicente
Madonna makes another movie. Guy assists.
Madonna is going to direct again. What, you say you didn’t know she’d already directed one feature film? Well, she did. And it was called “Filth and Wisdom.” It was bad. Came out in 2008. A handful of people saw it. So she’s giving it another go. After promising not to be in the film, the former Mrs. Guy Ritchie has received generous help from her filmmaking ex-husband in finding a cast for the currently titled “W.E.,” a romantic comedy with roots in the relationship between Britain’s Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. Meeting with respected U.K. actors Mark Strong and Toby Kebbell (both from Ritchie’s cool crime-comedy “RocknRolla”), the singer is also seeking a big name to help boost the film’s budget. In other words, she’s going to have to get Guy to call Gerard Butler for her, too – and that this movie is at least a couple of years away from any ticket-purchasing opportunity.
Peter Paige in a ‘Panic’
If you want to know more about the bad old days and how homosexual citizens of the United States had to live extremely discreet lives not so long ago, you should really read Neil Miller’s disturbing book “Sex Crime Panic: A Journey to the Paranoid Heart of the 1950s.” Filled with instances of incarceration in prisons and mental hospitals for no other reason than being discovered as gay, it’s non-fiction that will shake you up. And soon it will be Peter Paige’s (“Queer As Folk”) third feature film as a director. The indie drama Paige is helming will be titled simply “Sex Crime Panic” and will follow the harrowing story of a group of men suffering under American anti-gay laws half a century ago. And, OK, sure, maybe that doesn’t sound like much fun to watch, but when did important history lessons ever promise you a rose garden? Casting now, the film shoots mid-2010. That gives you plenty of time to read that book first.
Gay neo-Nazis in love
The “Hitler was gay” crowd is going to like this one. Homosexuals sporting shaved heads who also have a fondness for swastikas have generally been the sole provenance of avant-garde Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, but it looks like the shiny leather boot is now on the other foot. At the recent Rome Film Festival, critics and jury members alike went gaga over “Brotherhood,” a film generally considered to be the best of the fest. Director Nicolo Donato sets his story in present-day Denmark, where neo-Nazis perpetrate violent crimes against gays and foreign immigrants. So naturally things get a little awkward when new recruit Lars (Thure Lindhart) finds that he has feelings for gang leader Jimmy (David Dencik) – and that those feelings wind up being mutual. Given its timeliness – to say nothing of the film’s sex and violence – “Brotherhood” looks like a good candidate to get a U.S. release; look for it to hit art-house screens, or at least stateside film festivals, sometime in 2010.
Heather Matarazzo as Jessica Simpson. Yes, really.
Heather Matarazzo is a brave young performer, and not just because she came out of the closet. She played the aggressively nerdy (and horribly dressed) Dawn Wiener in her film debut, the modern classic pain-comedy “Welcome to the Dollhouse,” and she screamed and screamed while her blood rained down onto another naked woman who paid to torture her in “Hostel 2.” Now she’s playing “US Weekly” cover staple Jessica Simpson – sort of. Matarazzo has signed on to play the lead role in “Magnus!,” a new film from gay “Fat Girls” director Ash Christian. And while Christian says that it’s not exactly Simpson’s life story, Matarazzo will play a trailer-trash gal who loves singing and gets cast in a local production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Romeo’s already intrigued, but the casting of the hilarious Jennifer Coolidge as Matarazzo’s mom makes for the perfect cherry on top. Shooting starts in late November, which means “Magnus!” should be ready to hit all the queer film fests next summer, just in time for Simpson to start a tabloid feud with everyone involved.