By Romeo San Vicente
Santa visits Neil Patrick Harris
As long as Neil Patrick Harris is already running Hollywood – at least that’s how it seems these days – he might as well participate in some Christmas specials, right? So the “How I Met Your Mother” star has lent his voice to a new animated holiday special, “Yes, Virginia,” based on the famous 19th century newspaper editorial column, “Is There A Santa Claus?” The special, about a little girl who wonders about the existence of the jolly old elf, will also feature the voices of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Alfred Molina and, unless drastic modernist rewrites have taken place, will most likely confirm that Santa is, in fact, real. The show airs Dec. 11, a safe, non-competitive three days after “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Make sure you have plenty of cocoa on hand.
Charlize out, Gywneth in
Last year around this time Romeo reported that “The Danish Girl,” a feature film about the lives of the world’s first-ever post-operative transgender woman and her devoted wife, would star Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron. Kidman was cast as Einar Wegener, the man who transitions, and Theron as the wife who sticks around for the journey. Not anymore. Theron’s schedule couldn’t be made to fit and now Gwyneth Paltrow has stepped into the role. To be directed by Thomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In”), the film will probably see screens in 2011, provided there are no more delays. Both actors have played it queer on screen before, but can Paltrow fill the shoes of the voluptuous, same-sex-kiss-auctioning Theron? Will the lesbians rebel against it all? Stay tuned.
Ian McKellen enrolls in ‘The Academy’
Forgotten what Ian McKellen looks like without an “X-Men” costume, robes, a long beard or a giant wizard staff? So has he, apparently – and the actor’s out to refresh everyone’s memory with a new comedy series, “The Academy,” a mockumentary in the style of “The Office.” Before he runs off to New Zealand to appear in “The Hobbit,” McKellen is planning to shoot six episodes of the sitcom, in which he’ll play his fictional brother, Murray McKellen, who runs a broken-down drama school. The show is already being shopped to both U.K. and U.S. buyers, although no other cast members have been announced. Great idea: bring in Ricky Gervais as his character from “Extras.” That’ll bring the sitcom-as-documentary genre full circle.
‘Queens of Drag’ work it out
What “RuPaul’s Drag Race” set in motion is now picking up steam: another drag-based reality show is tottering on giant platform shoes toward TV glory. “Queens of Drag: NYC,” conceived by producer Larry Kennar (“The L Word”), former “Project Runway” contestant Jack Mackenroth and longtime gay porn director John Rutherford, will explore the lives and fashion insanity of New York’s fiercest drag performers. Names like Lady Bunny, Hedda Lettuce, Acid Betty, Mimi Imfurst and Kevin Aviance are already famous to NYC nightlife fans, but now they’ll have their shot at mainstream stardom in this sure-to-be-loud series. Shooting is scheduled to begin any second now, with cable network bidding to follow. Romeo thinks Fine Living Network should air it alongside episodes of “Whatever, Martha!”