By Romeo San Vicente
Weinsteins pick up Madonna’s ‘W.E.’
The Weinstein Company has picked up Madonna’s second feature as a director, “W.E.,” for American distribution later this year. You might not remember it, but yes, Madonna did direct a 2008 feature film titled “Filth and Wisdom” that approximately 11 people paid money to see, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if she wanted to forget it and make this new one her do-over. Based on the lives and relationship of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, the film stars Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough and James D’Arcy. Also, it couldn’t have come along at a better time; the characters were a relevant subplot in last year’s “The King’s Speech” – Edward abdicated the throne to be with American divorcee Simpson – and recently Madonna’s pal Gwyneth Paltrow did a wickedly funny history-teacher-substitute impersonation of Simpson on an episode of “Glee.” So there’s a chance this one will attract more of a ticket-buying audience than the director’s last movie. Better news? Ms. Ciccone isn’t acting in it.
Roland Emmerich to direct ‘Asteroids’?
Roland Emmerich, the gay director responsible for the biggest, baddest, earth-endingest disaster movies of the past 15 years (“Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “2012”) now finds himself courted by Universal to direct the movie adaptation of the retro video game “Asteroids.” That’s the one where the big letter “A” floats in space shooting little blips at big rocks and spaceships, which means that, clearly, it’s going to be an amazing film. And it’s obvious why they want the man: he’s the king of this kind of stuff even though Emmerich has said he no longer wants to make big end-of-the-world films. He could still sign on, though, when he learns that this wouldn’t be one of those kinds of projects. That’s because it’ll be set after the end of the world and the aliens have already won. See? Totally not the same thing. Next up? Film versions of Metroid, Centipede, Frogger, Burger Time and Pong.
‘American Idiot’: the Movie of the Broadway Show of the Concept Album
These days, as far as movie musicals go, everybody wants to be “Mamma Mia!” Not that you can blame any producer for wanting a global smash despite possible critical bashings (and “Mamma Mia!” had plenty), but the already proven formula seems most likely to succeed at the multiplex. Enter Tom Hanks and his PlayTone Productions’ adaptation of the Broadway hit, “American Idiot.” Based on the concept album by post-punk band Green Day, the film strings together Green Day hits of the ’90s and ’00s into a narrative about modern life in an increasingly chaotic United States. A refreshing change-up from Neanderthal rock attitudes, Green Day was, alongside Nirvana, responsible for aiming progressive, pro-gay messages at its young audience and the band’s frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong, will reprise his role of St. Jimmy in the film version. The project is still in development but is looking to smarten up theaters sometime in 2013. Look, as long as it beats “Jersey Boys: The Movie” into the multiplex, the world can continue to turn on its axis.
Cyndi Lauper doesn’t miss a ‘Beat’
Cyndi Lauper’s gay diva status in the 1980s was always somewhat overshadowed by the towering presence of Madonna, but in recent years with her ongoing activism and musical shift toward more dance-oriented tracks (including queer-specific personalities like former gay porn star-turned-singer Colton Ford in her videos), Lauper has more than reminded her fans where her loyalties lie. And now she’s going to remind you that she can act by taking a role in the independent feature “The Last Beat.” The cast includes French film star Virginie Ledoyen and Oscar nominee Seymour Cassel and is the story of a rock star who goes to Paris in search of a more artistic existence. For Lauper, it’ll be the first reasonably high-profile feature project since she followed up her cameo in 1985’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” with the psychic romantic comedy (and box-office bomb) “Vibes.” So welcome back, Cyndi.