By Romeo San Vicente
Jennifer Hudson to star as ‘Winnie’
No, not “The Pooh.” The beloved, Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls” song-stomper Jennifer Hudson is going to play Winnie Mandela, wife of Nelson, in a new film titled “Winnie.” One problem: she’s not nearly as adorable a public figure as either her husband or Hudson, having gotten herself into more than her share of controversy – adultery, being accused of having hits taken out on informers – in the fight against apartheid. Director Darrell J. Roodt (“Cry, the Beloved Country” and “Sarafina!”) reportedly has every intention of covering the good and bad side of Mrs. Mandela when the film shoots in 2010. And that also means new territory for J-Hud, whose acting career to date has been one long hug-fest with the audience. Time to turn up that Effie White grouchiness to 11 for this one.
Lee Daniels marches on ‘Selma’
How did it take this long to get a major feature film off the ground about the historic Civil Rights Movement marches from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.? And while the answer to that one may never be forthcoming, “Selma” definitely is. Paul Webb, screenwriter of Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming “Lincoln,” is penning the project; “Slumdog Millionaire” producer Christian Colson is on board, and Lee Daniels, gay director of “Precious,” is close to signing on as director. The film will cover the three attempts that culminated in a final march across Alabama led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965. A spring 2010 start date is already in place. Now all the movie needs is some actors. Think any of them will want to jump on board something with possible Oscar nominations built into its very subject matter?
Kathy Griffin revs up for ‘Drag Race’
Now that the experimental (read: cheapskate) first season is over and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is a certifiable audience-pleasing cable TV hit, the second season – coming to Logo next February – will see a more fitting environment for a queen. One studded with stars. To that end, even more homo-liking celebs than last season will fill the guest judge seat. Get ready for Kathy Griffin, Debbie Reynolds, Cloris Leachman and Henry Rollins to pick apart the finer points of lip-syncing, wig placement and the package-minimizing tuck. The contestants will have their hands particularly full with Griffin, who, as hetero queen of all things gay, will come equipped with gown-shredding commentary and her own supply of high-quality fake hair. Romeo is also taking bets on how many minutes into the Rollins episode one of the contestants will attempt to make out with him.
David Sedaris goes analog
Did you think no one bought vinyl records anymore? Then the fact that $57 million worth of them were sold in 2008 might shock you. Seems that the record-buying audience never went away and has grown each year since its lowest point in 1990. And if anyone can tap into the market for a truly odd release, then bestselling gay author David Sedaris can. The humorist’s live spoken-word recordings are big sellers on CD, so a special vinyl version of “David Sedaris: Live For Your Listening Pleasure” ( “in stereophonic sound,” of course) complete with retro 1960s cover art, is being prepared to drop in January. The cost? A somewhat pricy $24.98 – at 31 minutes, more cool object than genuine party album – that will also come with a code allowing purchasers to download the entire digital release. Now go dust off that turntable.