By Romeo San Vicente
Viola Davis sings the blues
The Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role went to Viola Davis for the 2016 film adaptation of August Wilson’s “Fences.” And sometimes you stick with what worked before, so another Wilson adaptation, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is headed to Netflix, with Davis starring as legendary lesbian “Queen of the Blues” Rainey. The story concerns Rainey recording a record in 1920s Chicago, and all the tensions that accompanied her artistic and personal life. Taylour Paige (“Hit The Floor”) will play Rainey’s lover, Dussie Mae, and other notable co-stars include Chadwick Boseman and “Fear the Walking Dead”’s Colman Domingo. Denzel Washington, who starred with Davis in “Fences,” is producing, actor-writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson (“Billions”) is adapting the play for the screen, and gay theater director and filmmaker George C. Wolfe (“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”) will direct. This one’s going to hit Netflix in 2020, and probably scoop up its share of award nominations soon after. Brush up on your blues before then.
Nisha Ganatra is making music
Bill Pullman, Eddie Izzard and Diplo have joined the cast of “Covers,” the upcoming comedy from Focus Features, with a screenplay by first-timer Flora Greeson, to be directed by Nisha Ganatra (“Late Night,” and the ’90s lesbian classic “Chutney Popcorn”). The three new cast members will join Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Ice Cube in a love story set in the fast-paced Los Angeles music scene. If the name Diplo is unfamiliar to you, it’s because you’re not paying enough attention to the world of DJs-as-music-producers, because he’s worked with Sia, Lil Nas X and Beyoncé, to name a few, and this will be his first major acting assignment. Production on this one is taking place right now, with a drop date sometime in 2020. We don’t know who sings in the film, but if we learned anything from 2000’s “Duets,” the one where Paul Giamatti belted out an Otis Redding song and Huey Lewis crooned “Cruising” with Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s never to be surprised.
Will ‘Can You Keep A Secret?’ revive the rom-com?
We, as a people, need and deserve more romantic comedies than studios have been giving us lately. The world is overrun with superheroes instead of meet-cutes, and we consider this to be a movie-based hate crime. It’s so dire out there that sometimes we find ourselves watching those terrible Hallmark films just so we can have a taste. Coming soon, then, to quench our desire, is “Can You Keep A Secret?” Based on the best-selling novel by Sophie Kinsella, this story’s meet-cute is more like a meet-terrifying, when a young woman (Alexandra Daddario, so good in the underrated “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”) spills all her secrets to a man (Tyler Hoechlin, “Everybody Wants Some!”) on a plane when they think they’re going to crash. When they don’t die young, she learns that he’s her new employer. Along for the romantic turbulence is Kimiko Glenn from “Orange is the New Black,” and her “Orange” co-star, Laverne Cox, who, based on her IMDb roster of upcoming projects, is currently from pretty much everywhere and everything. Hurry up, movie, and teach us to laugh at love again.
Here’s your latest ‘L Word’ revival casting update
Each new press release brings us closer to the TV event of 2019. We are referring, obviously, to “The L Word: Generation Q,” the Showtime series that will matter more than all other Showtime programming that has ever existed. We already know that Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig and Leisha Hailey are back, still living the lesbian high life in Los Angeles, only now their paths will cross with fresh faces played by Arienne Mandi (“Baja”), Leo Sheng (“Adam”), Jacqueline Toboni (“Easy”) and Rosanny Zayas (“Orange is the New Black”). And just announced, the cast expands with Olivia Thirlby (“Juno”) and our favorite lesbian stand-up comic Fortune Feimster (“The Mindy Project”), as well as Lex Scott Davis (“The First Purge”) and Sophie Giannamore (“Transparent”). We also finally have a premiere date, and it’s as though Showtime heard us refer to this revival as “Lesbian Christmas” and decided to make it so: the eight-episode series drops Sunday, Dec. 8. Thank you, Ms. Santa.