Cate Blanchett fights feminism in ‘Mrs. America’
History lesson time, kids! In the 1970s there was a proposed change to the Constitution called the Equal Rights Amendment. It failed to be ratified, and a major reason for that failure was conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. It was an ugly battle, made uglier by the lies and distortions that conservatives told about the passage of the amendment. They whipped up fear and it worked. Now FX will present a limited series, “Mrs. America,” to remind America what was lost. In a stroke of near-perfect casting, Schlafly will be played by Cate Blanchett, and a host of other historical figures by an A-list roster: Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan, as well as Sarah Paulson, Ari Graynor, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Melanie Lynskey, James Marsden and John Slattery. Schlafly was an early spark that lit the flame of the Religious Right’s ascendance in the 1980s, so get ready to be depressed when it airs in 2020.
Finally, a Bob Mackie documentary
Valentino, McQueen, YSL, Halston, Diana Vreeland, Andre Leon Talley, and the entire September issue of “Vogue” magazine: they’ve all had documentaries made about them. And if you’re fashion doc devotees like us you’ve spent your days wondering when the legendary Bob Mackie, costume designer for Cher, Carol Burnett and countless others, would get his turn to shine for posterity. Well, that time is now, and it’s coming right on schedule, as the man receives his lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America; finds himself Tony Award-nominated for “The Cher Show”; and gets to see his own creations duplicated on screen in the Elton John musical biopic “Rocketman.” It’s a good moment to be Mackie, and the upcoming untitled doc, from filmmaker Matthew Miele, director of “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s,” will dive deep into the designer’s flashy past. But we’ll all have to wait a bit longer: it’s slated for a December 2020 release, a holiday gift for any post-election blues that might need a lift.
Feeling the ‘Fear’ with Amandla Stenberg
Rising young queer star Amandla Stenberg, whose performance in last year’s underrated “The Hate U Give” was the kind of nomination-worthy work you’ll be hearing more about as her career develops, is about to pay her teen movie dues in a remake of “Fear.” If you remember the old weird ’90s, that was the one with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg, the one where he becomes a wildly violent – then murderous — stalker when she decides he might not be her dream guy. See, back then, this kind of misogynist peril was considered date night entertainment, and so it’ll be interesting to see how a new generation’s version handles the pitfalls of subject matter so ready to be turned into exploitation filmmaking. There’s no word yet on who’ll direct but “Straight Outta Compton” screenwriter Jonathan Herman will be handling the script. Good idea: make the director a woman. No, seriously.
Zendaya and the Mystery of ‘Euphoria’
These days they drop TV shows like Beyoncé drops albums, with next to no warning, ready to make a quick burst of noise and grab your attention before you’re distracted by the next new thing. That seems to be what’s happening with the YA-themed “Euphoria,” coming up “very” soon on HBO – June, in fact, right around the corner – and suddenly it’s all we can think about. For starters, because it stars Zendaya and a cast of bright young things – Storm Reid, Maude Apatow, Algee Smith, Jacob Elordi, Sydney Sweeney and Austin Abrams – as they navigate all the usual teen tragedies with an updated 2019 sensibility. And because the series has cast trans model Hunter Schafer as a trans character, one we hear becomes romantically involved with Zendaya’s character. Just in time for Pride Month, y’all. We’ll be watching.
Romeo San Vicente is busting out all over.