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By Romeo San Vicente
Will Leo make it turing’s turn?
A big-screen biopic of World War II computer pioneer Alan Turing is in the works at Warner Bros and word is that Leonardo DiCaprio – clearly bucking for another Academy Award nomination – is interested in playing him. The working title is “The Imitation Game” and the script by Graham Moore is based on Andrew Hodge’s biography “Alan Turing: The Enigma.” During WW2, British military officer Turing was a key figure in breaking Nazi codes – he developed the Turing Bombe, a device that deciphered the Third Reich’s enigma codes – and he is considered a pioneer of modern computer technology. But Turing was also gay and, after the war, was punished by the very government he heroically served. The story will explore both Turing’s efforts during the war and also his post-war prosecution for being homosexual, his conviction for “gross indecency,” forced hormone therapy and his subsequent tragic suicide. Now, if they can just figure out a way to release this worthy but extremely depressing tale during Oscar season but not on Christmas Day…
HBO welcomes Liberace and ‘Kids’
Remember that Liberace biopic that’s been such a longtime coming? Remember how it was going to be a big-screen event directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas as the legendary and legendarily closeted entertainer? Well, it’s still happening. But the screen’s going to be a little smaller. HBO has taken the film and will give it the audience-grabbing premiere it will surely deserve. And why is this good? Consider Todd Haynes’s Emmy-winning “Mildred Pierce.” Debuting on HBO meant more people saw it than watched all of Haynes’s other theatrically released movies combined. And it was always going to be a tough sell getting audiences into theaters for a movie about the death of Liberace, so this way it’ll be as easy to see as programming a DVR. Meanwhile HBO is betting you loved the family from “The Kids Are All Right” enough to watch them every week. They’ve commissioned a pilot script for a one-hour drama from “Kids” writer-director Lisa Cholodenko. Sounds great, but will somebody make sure to woo Annette Bening to reprise her role as the Joni Mitchell-crooning matriarch?
Will Lee Daniels teach America to ‘Vogue’ again?
Lee Daniels must not need as much sleep as normal human beings. The “Precious” director just signed on to direct a “Valley of The Dolls” update for NBC, he’s got a handful of other projects in various stages of development, and now he wants to turn “Paris is Burning” into a TV show. He’s currently attached to direct an untitled Showtime pilot that, while not specifically aligned with Jennie Livingston’s acclaimed an influential 1990 drag ball documentary, will explore the same subculture of drag “houses” – which inspired Madonna’s single “Vogue” – and the young Latino and African-American men who participate in the competitions surrounding them. “Temple Grandin” writer W. Merritt Johnson is working on the script, but no other details, including cast or title, are yet known. It’s a great idea, since the documentary has found a new audience among hip, urban, twentysomething gay men; that means the audience for a high-quality exploration of this world is already primed for more “realness.” You better work, Lee Daniels.
Kelly McGillis, ‘Innkeeper’ from hell
Ti West’s new movie is coming soon! OK, sure, now maybe you’re asking “What is a Ti West?” And if you are then you didn’t see the coolest horror movie of the past couple years that didn’t have the words “paranormal” or “activity” in the title. What would be West’s critically acclaimed indie “The House of the Devil,” which generated a lot of positive buzz for its impeccable homage to 1980s “satanic panic.” And now West is back on the festival circuit with his latest, “The Innkeepers,” another horror romp inspired by the spooky hotel “House of the Devil”‘s crew stayed in during that film’s shoot. It stars Kelly McGillis and “Shark Night”‘s Sara Paxton and this time the haunted house is a New England bed and breakfast of terror. It can reasonably be assumed that McGillis’s lesbian fan base are just as likely to enjoy a good scare as the horror nerd contingent, so there’s no reason why this shouldn’t do at least “Claire of the Moon”-level box office.