By Romeo San Vicente
Don Johnson lives in ‘Mann’s World’
It’s hard out here for an aging, heterosexual male hairdresser. So goes the log line for a new NBC pilot called “A. Mann’s World.” The project, from producer Michael Patrick King (“Sex and the City”), will star ’80s “Miami Vice” heartthrob Don Johnson as Allan Mann, a straight Beverly Hills salon owner struggling to keep up with the times in youth-obsessed Los Angeles. Johnson, now in his early 60s, will play slightly younger – they’re calling his character fiftysomething – which reflects the demographic shift slowly taking place as babyboomer audiences age and crave the familiar faces they’ve always known. As for the premise, think “Shampoo.” And if you’re old enough to think “Shampoo,” then you’re this show’s target market. Now let’s all sit back and wait to see what kind of stereotypically gay stylist characters pop up on this thing.
James Earl Jones meets Gore Vidal
Serious acting alert here. James Earl Jones, following his time on Broadway in “Driving Miss Daisy,” will stick around the city for his next play, a revival of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man,” set to stage in spring of 2012. You kids know who Gore Vidal is, yes? He’s been one of our most fiercely intellectual, wickedly cool, zero-nonsense literary lions and a suffer-no-fools gay for about 70 years now. As for the play, it’s about all the best stuff: power, political secrets and ruthless ambition as a powerful executive decides which presidential nominee to throw his weight behind. In other words, if you’re looking to see something serious and challenging on Broadway that doesn’t involve Spider-Man singing U2 songs and cast members engaging in treacherous acrobatics (presuming that show has even opened by 2012), this is where you’ll go get it. Added bonus: that Darth Vader voice. In person!
Get ready for ‘The Bodyguard’ 2.0
There are two ways to look at the news that the now nearly 20-year-old blockbuster “The Bodyguard” is headed for a tacky remake. The realistic, sober view is that this is further evidence of a cynical, creatively bankrupt system, one where original ideas are anomalies and money matters most of all. The other view is this one: WHOO HOOO! Rihanna and Channing Tatum! Sexy young people with music and shiny things onscreen! It’s a safe bet which paradigm is going to rule the day. So you can bemoan that fact, or just hope that they keep Dolly Parton payday songs like “I Will Always Love You” in the mix. And for gays of the ’90s, it’s going to be like a nostalgia train pulling into Queen of The Night Station. So stay tuned. Casting is only speculative at this point. But it’s definitely going to happen. So can there please please please be a Whitney Houston cameo? It would be only right and natural.
‘Saturday Night’ is all right for Elton John
Elton John plans to host “Saturday Night Live” on April 2, it was announced at his post-Oscar party. And what’s the occasion? He’s Elton John, that’s what’s the occasion. The guy has a movie in theaters doing well (“Gnomeo & Juliet,” which he produced), he’s got a new family that made headlines as well as controversy for those very headlines – a Midwestern supermarket chain objected to and covered up his “People” magazine cover where he posed with partner David Furnish and their baby – and he’s the subject and content-provider of a new biopic about his life, currently in the works. In other words, he’s busy being Elton John and that is a lot of work. If we’re all lucky, he’ll be a good sport and help the cast mock every single thing about himself. (Who knows, maybe Horation Sanz could come back and revive his formerly regularly appearing impersonation of John.) And if we’re all really lucky, he’ll find time to join musical guest Leon Russell for a song. And if we’re all really, really lucky it won’t be one from “The Lion King.”