By Romeo San Vicente
Gaga for ‘Glee’
The all-Madonna-song episode is coming up soon (begging the question of who gets to keep Jane Lynch’s cone bra), but this past weekend, “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy, at a Paley Center event in Los Angeles, revealed an even bigger piece of pop-culture news. According to producers, the show reached out to Lady Gaga and she will appear in some capacity before the season ends, with the cast singing at least one of her songs. The theme: the power of theatricality, of course.
In what other context would you appropriately place a woman who, on live television, dives into fake pits of fire during a duet with Elton John? Meanwhile, the really important question now will be where the series will go in season two after getting all the biggest names on their “want” list right out of the box? And speaking of Elton John, when’s his cameo?
Mo’Nique wants McDaniel’s life on screen
When you’ve got instant Hollywood power thanks to an Oscar win, it seems like a no-brainer to go after your dream project. And that’s just what Mo’Nique is planning by buying the rights to legendary actress Hattie McDaniel’s life story. McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award (for playing “Mammy” in “Gone With The Wind”), was namechecked in Mo’Nique’s acceptance speech, and now Mo’Nique wants to play her in a film project to be directed by her fellow “Precious” colleague and Oscar nominee Lee Daniels. Daniels already has “Selma” and “Miss Saigon” on his plate, so this project could take a few years to make happen. But Mo’Nique radiates power-player/producer already (something maybe to do with that refusal to shave her legs?) so it seems likely she’ll get what she wants eventually.
Pearce joins ‘Pierce’
As Romeo reported earlier, the five-hour HBO miniseries event, “Mildred Pierce,” to be directed by acclaimed queer filmmaker Todd Haynes, already has its Mildred in Kate Winslet. And now the rest of the cast has been announced for the remake of the dark, classic Joan Crawford film about a hard-working single mother and her never-satisfied daughter. Guy Pearce will play Mildred’s mild-mannered suitor Monty and Evan Rachel Wood will take on the role of Mildred’s mean, spoiled child. Good move, since Wood already gained plenty of experience playing a bad girl in the film “Thirteen.” Rounding out the cast are Academy Award-nominee Melissa Leo and indie-film vet James Le Gros. Cameras roll in April and (not to jinx the process or anything but) Emmy nominations come later.
Stephen Merritt has ‘Strange Powers’
Ask any indie rock fan and they’ll tell you that the Magnetic Fields are one of the most important bands of this generation. Don’t know them? Then you’ve never met one-man song-machine Stephen Merritt, the band’s leader and creator of the chamber pop masterpiece “69 Love Songs.” Filmmakers Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara would like to change that cult status with their recently completed documentary “Strange Powers: Stephen Merritt and The Magnetic Fields,” which follows Merritt, a man who’s been called “the Cole Porter of his generation,” and the revolving cast of musicians who accompany him when the band performs. Appearing in the doc, alongside main MF collaborator Claudia Gonson, are Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein, Superchunk’s Laura Ballance, writer Sasha Frere-Jones, Peter Gabriel, Kiki & Herb’s Kenny Mellman and Lemony Snicket author (and occasional MF accordionist) Daniel Handler – in other words, a feast for fans and soon-to-be fans. Find it soon at a film festival near you.