By Romeo San Vicente
A Very Gaga Thanksgiving
Leave it to Lady Gaga to avoid the typical when it comes to holiday specials. Instead of joining the Christmas onslaught and risking getting lost in the shuffle of one-off TV events, Gaga’s “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” will not only allow her to get the jump on every other entry but put her in the more rarefied atmosphere occupied by very few other Thanksgiving-themed holiday specials. In other words, she’s chosen the esteemed company of Charlie Brown over Kathie Lee Gifford. The ABC special will feature Gaga performing her new single “Marry The Night” as well as her recent duet with Tony Bennett, “The Lady Is A Tramp.” She’ll be interviewed by Katie Couric, perform her version of “White Christmas” (it never hurts to hedge your bets) and help chef Art Smith make deep-fried turkey with waffles – presumably, while dressed as a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. Set your DVR for Thursday, Nov. 24, Thanksgiving night.
Queen Latifah needs to talk to you about…
Back in 1999, Queen Latifah was still transitioning from a hip-hop career, where she was known primarily as a rapper, to a film and singing career. And around that time she got her own talk show, “The Queen Latifah Show.” It didn’t last long, but that was before Oprah left the field wide open for a successor and the last 11 years saw Latifah’s career skyrocket to the A-list (even though her sexual orientation remains the subject of public speculation, prompts discussions of “glass closets,” and, to this moment, isn’t quite 100-percent confirmed). So now a new show is in the works, produced by Latifah’s Hollywood pals Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and their business plan is a shrewd one: it’s not hitting airwaves until the fall of 2013, which ought to give the current crop -Anderson Cooper, Bethenny Frankel, Steve Harvey, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst – time to thin their own ranks via cancellations.
Watch out, the ‘Original Dragon Tattoo’ Girl is coming back
Rooney Mara may be the woman American audiences eventually recognize most in the role of Lisbeth Salander after the English-language version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” hits theaters in December, but it was Noomi Rapace, the star of the original trilogy of Swedish films, who carried those movies to this side of the world in the first place. As the hard-bitten, crime-busting lesbian computer genius, Rapace shocked audiences with her character’s capacity for violence and her charismatic chilly presence left an indelible mark on every minute of the series. Now Rapace is re-teaming with Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev for an English language film co-starring Colin Farrell. In “Dead Man Down,” she’ll play a woman who seduces a gangster just so she can blackmail him afterward. The film starts shooting in early 2012, with a probable 2013 release date to follow. Sounds like another role that calls for a strong woman, and Rapace is more than capable of it. Just don’t call it typecasting; think of it as building a brand.
Cheyenne Jackson and Nathan Lane, playing it straight?
What kind of sitcom would you expect to see from two gay actors like Nathan Lane and Cheyenne Jackson? How about one where there’s no mention of any overly gay plot? No? Well here goes: USA has greenlit an untitled comedy pilot from Oscar nominee Douglas McGrath (“Bullets Over Broadway”) that will star Lane, Jackson and “Scrubs” vet Ken Jenkins. Centered on an unlucky actor (Lane) whose fledgling Broadway career is derailed when his elderly father becomes ill, he’ll return fish-out-of-water-style to his Texas hometown, befriending his father’s doctor (Jackson) in the process. Obviously, one or both of the characters could turn out to be gay, but right now that’s not information anyone’s been given. Frankly, it would be an interesting development if neither character were written gay. Jackson already plays a heterosexual character on “30 Rock,” and it would provide further proof that openly gay actors can take on any role they’re asked. Neil Patrick Harris and Zachary Quinto can’t be expected to carry that burden alone, right?