By Romeo San Vicente
‘Glee’ and ‘Twilight’ stars leap to ‘White Frog’
Somebody must have once given indie filmmaker Quentin Lee good business advice about keeping his overhead low and never giving up. Because while most of the world wasn’t looking, the gay director has racked up five well-regarded indie features, including “The People I’ve Slept With,” “Drift” and “Shopping For Fangs,” a couple of documentaries and several short films. Are they busting down box offices? No, but they get made and they get seen on screens at film fests and arthouse theaters. Ask anybody in the film business and they’ll tell you that that equals success. And for Lee’s next project, the high profile stars are coming out to play. The film is called “White Frog” and it stars Booboo Stewart (part of the “Twilight” wolf pack) as a young man with Asperger’s syndrome who brings about change in his family. It feature’s “Glee”‘s Harry Shum Jr. in a pivotal role, “Teen Wolf”‘s Tyler Posey, “Law and Order SVU” star BD Wong and “Twin Peaks” alum Joan Chen. Be on the lookout for it to start making the film festival rounds this summer. Then buy a ticket and support small films. It’s the least you can do after paying money to see “Battleship.”
It’s not a sequel or a reboot, but it is a marketing decision, make no mistake. That’s the only way to describe the next project from the “Paranormal Activity” production team of Jason Blum, Oren Peli and gay writer-director Christopher Landon (son of Michael). They’re hard at work developing a “Paranormal Activity”-style film with a Latino cast and a plot involving Catholic concepts of evil and the paranormal. Landon will write and direct this one (he’s already written “PA2” and “PA3,” so he’s ready) and production on the English-language film starts soon. And why? Well, with the United States Latino population growing faster than any other ethnic group, it stands to reason that there’ll be more Latino-themed cultural product coming along, and what better, more opportunistic plan is there than a tiny-budgeted horror film that grabs all its cash back and more on opening weekend? Meanwhile, as long as it doesn’t turn into a tacky Virgin Mary vs. La Llorona cage match, who’s to say there’s anything wrong with that?
Oscar-winning lesbians make a break for Canada in ‘Cloudburst’
Olympia Dukakis won hers for “Moonstruck,” while U.K. actress Brenda Fricker won hers for “My Left Foot.” Those wins would be Academy Awards, by the way, and the lauded ladies are now going to star side-by-side in the latest film from gay Canadian director Thom Fitzgerald (“Beefcake,” “Three Needles”). Dukakis and Fricker will star as an older lesbian couple, with Fricker finding herself placed in a nursing home by her adult children. But when those same family members decide to shut out Dukakis from the home the women have built together, the pair decide to break out and run off to be married in Canada. No one seems to bother telling them that Canadian laws don’t hold in the U.S., but that doesn’t stop them from taking one last stab at freedom. Think Thelma and Louise only with two women who have kissed more than once, and then catch it when it comes to a local film festival or independent cinema near you.
‘Corpus Christi’: The Documentary
“Corpus Christi,” the play by Terrence McNally that retells the New Testament gospels from the perspective of Jesus and his disciples as a group of gay men living in modern day Texas, is probably the most argued-over American play to come along in the past 15 years. From its 1998 Broadway debut to regional productions, the play is frequently the target of protests, attempts to ban or cancel it, death threats and bomb scares. So you know it’s got to be good. And now the story of the plays reception is a big screen documentary, “Corpus Christi: Playing With Redemption,” from filmmakers Nic Arnzen and James Brandon. The film follows the play as it cuts its controversial path across the country, including a production in Corpus Christi, Texas. Premiering at San Francisco’s Castro Theater on April 29 before its eventual cable/DVD/download future, it’s an important contribution to the dialogue over artistic freedom, the First Amendment and United States citizens who don’t really like either one.