By Romeo San Vicente
James Franco tells yet another gay story with ‘Sal’
It looks like James Franco is making gayness his primary cinematic concern. First he played Harvey Milk’s boyfriend in “Milk,” then Allen Ginsberg in “Howl.” Currently he’s directing and starring as doomed young gay poet Hart Crane in “The Broken Tower” (hitting film festivals near you right now) and, going for a trifecta of gay biopic entries, he’s now directing “Sal,” the film version of the life of “Rebel Without A Cause” star Sal Mineo. Franco will also act in the film but the title role goes to young Mineo look-alike Val Lauren. There are a lot more gay biopics left to be shot, too, so if Franco wants he can just keep going and give us movies about Paul Lynde, Rock Hudson, Charles Nelson Reilly, Keith Haring, Montgomery Clift and Sylvester before moving on to the life of still-living people like Neil Patrick Harris. The possibilities are endless and we’re happy to let Franco explore them. “Sal” is due in 2012, so you young people still have time to go watch “Rebel” and study the subject matter.
Glenn Close passes in ‘Albert Nobbs’
“Damages” star Glenn Close hasn’t been as active on the big screen lately as she was in the 1980s when she was nominated for (yet didn’t win) five Academy Awards over the course of a seven-year span. But that might change this fall when the Irish drama “Albert Nobbs” hits theaters. Based on the George Moore story, “The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs,” it concerns a woman who, desperate for work, poses as a male butler in a Dublin hotel in the 1860s. While living as a man, she winds up in an affair with another man. The film also features “The Kids Are All Right” star Mia Wasikowska and “Kick-Ass”‘s Aaron Johnson – and, more importantly for Close, is already enjoying pre-release Oscar buzz. It’s always nice when a deserving veteran actor gets a second chance at an Academy Award. And if they snub her again she can always go full-tilt “Fatal Attraction” on the voting members.
‘Gay Dude’ goes back to high school
You probably didn’t see Disney’s prom-themed teen comedy called “Prom.” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It tanked at the box office. But one of its young stars, Nicholas Braun, exuded dorky teen charm as a shy boy trying to get a date to the big night, and now he’ll have another chance to play a high-school nerd in “Gay Dude.” Yes, that’s the title. The teen comedy revolves around two best friends whose pact to lose their virginity before graduation hits a snag when one of the boys comes out as gay. Lionsgate will produce and release the hot-property script from “Parks and Recreation” writer Alan Yang. The best news here is that screenwriter credit; call it a sign of hope that the finished product will resemble something more like a classic John Hughes comedy than the last big gay-themed movie Lionsgate released: the Cuba Gooding, Jr. “comedy” “Boat Trip.” If you didn’t see that one either, don’t bother. Your health insurance might not cover the consequences.
‘Hung’ casts trans actor to play trans character
Jamie Clayton isn’t exactly a household name. Her biggest media exposure to date has come from hosting the VH1 reality show, “TRANSform Me.” But the transgendered actress is about to make the leap to HBO’s hit series “Hung,” where she’ll play a trans woman who hires male prostitute Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane). Additionally, her character is scheduled for a story arc that may well include her becoming Ray’s girlfriend. In a casting world where trans actors are routinely passed over for trans roles, this isn’t just good news for one actor, it’s one more step in the march of progress. Now just cross your fingers that her character is portrayed authentically, reflecting actual trans viewers’ lives. The storyline gets rolling in season three, beginning this October. We’ll be watching.