By Romeo San Vicente
Yee-haw! Lily Tomlin to play Reba’s mom
Perhaps no performer has moved as effortlessly between media as Lily Tomlin, who’s struck comedy gold on records, in movies (she snagged an Oscar nomination for her dramatic turn in “Nashville”), on the stage (particularly in her acclaimed one-woman show “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”), and on TV, where she’s been a mainstay of shows as far afield as “Designing Women,” “Damages,” “Desperate Housewives” and “The West Wing.” Tomlin returns to the small screen soon with “Malibu Country,” where she’ll play the mother of Reba McEntire. In the proposed new sitcom from “Reba” creator Kevin Abbott, McEntire stars as a woman who divorces her ne’er-do-well rock star husband for cheating on her and burning through their money. She uproots her mom and her three kids from Nashville and moves them to the last piece of property they still own – a house in Malibu, where she will attempt to restart her own singing career and keep her kids from getting caught up in the lifestyles of the rich and famous. If all goes well, look for “Malibu Country” to pop up on ABC as a fall or mid-season series.
Michael Sucsy climbs the career ladder with ‘Scruples’
Gay filmmaker Michael Sucsy co-wrote and directed the acclaimed HBO film “Grey Gardens,” helmed the box office hit “The Vow” and now he’s got new projects in line – an enviable position to be in, one that proves that there’s nothing like getting work in Hollywood to get you more work in Hollywood. Sucsy has “Rosaline” currently in pre-production, starring Lily Collins (“Mirror Mirror”). It’s a comedy based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which clearly means it’s something a little darker than you might expect from a project with a basis in teen suicide. And don’t look now but ’80s soap-blast “Scruples,” based on the Judith Krantz novel, is back for an update with Sucsy attached to direct. The story of a powerful fashion designer and all the glamorous scandals surrounding her, “Bionic Woman” star Lindsay Wagner played the lead back in 1980. No cast has been announced for this go-round, but why stray from the name pool? Lindsay Lohan’s not busy and she knows scandal like the back of her nightclub-stamped hand.
So, like, ‘Valley Girl’ is totally a musical now
Looks like “Glee” has made the world safe for cover versions of your favorite hits of yesteryear. Later this year, we’ll get the movie version of the Broadway hit “Rock of Ages,” featuring Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough belting out popular power ballads of the Reagan era, and now comes word of a musical reboot of “Valley Girl,” the totally tubular 1980s comedy that gave Nicolas Cage one of his earliest leading roles. This new version will have the cast breaking into song and crooning New Wave standards (the original film’s soundtrack gave us Modern English’s “I Melt With You” and The Plimsouls’ “A Million Miles Away”) and will be directed by Clay Weiner, the guy behind that TV spot with Ricky Gervais and Mary-Louise Parker you’ve seen a million times since the Super Bowl. With Jenny Lumet (“Rachel Getting Married”) reworking Amy Talkington’s script, no word yet on when this hopefully non-grody-to-the-max remake will start shooting. But remember, if you’re old enough to have owned a pair of checkerboard Vans the first time around, you probably shouldn’t be wearing them to see this when it arrives in theaters next year.
More pilots, casts and uncertainty
It’s a crapshoot pilot season. They make a lot of TV shows, they throw them against a wall, they see what sticks. And then a handful of the survivors go to series where most of them will be cancelled after three episodes. Or less. Is it any wonder that people who make TV shows seem a little crazy? But in this time of year, when casts are announced, everything feels hopeful. So be on the lookout – maybe, eventually – for “Partners” starring “Superman”‘s Brandon Routh and “Ugly Betty”‘s Michael Urie. Urie will play an architect and Routh his boyfriend, a former alcoholic male model, now a sober, vegan nurse. Urie’s already actually gay and Routh’s no stranger to the prospect of playing gay after showing up for a hilarious few moments as Justin Long’s lover in Kevin Smith’s “Zak and Miri Make a Porno.” And taking the TV plunge again is Ryan Phillippe, starring in the untitled Nick Wootton-Greg Berlanti (“The Broken Hearts Club”) drama pilot that was once known as “Golden Boy.” It’s another cop show, which, along with shows about doctors and lawyers, are usually a surer bet than shows about anything else. Now, will Phillippe – who got his start in TV, playing a gay teenager on “One Life to Live” – be back on a regular series after his season-long stint in “Damages” is finished? Who knows. That’s what makes pilot season so exciting. Right?