By Romeo San Vicente
Jodie Foster fights for ‘Prisoner 760’
Jodie’s back, fighting for justice. She’s part of the cast of “Prisoner 760,” playing a lawyer defending a man who was detained at Guantanamo Bay detention facility without charges for over a decade. The true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (French actor Tahar Rahim, “A Prophet”), a man suspected of ties to al-Qaida, and his 10-plus year wait for charges or help, the film stars Foster and Shailene Woodley as lawyers working on his case, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch as a military prosecutor. Cumberbatch is executive producing the project, to be directed by Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”) and written by acclaimed journalist and producer Michael Bronner (“United 93,” “Captain Phillips”). Following the initial rush of Bush-era narrative and documentary features about the so-called War on Terror, this project has the feeling of a next wave of stories, ones obscured during the chaos of the Trump era, where the legacy of America’s now seemingly endless wars is subject to renewed scrutiny. No word yet on when to expect this one, but it’s guaranteed to be heavy when it hits.
Shonda Rhimes’ next one: ‘Inventing Anna’
Anna Vadimovna Sorokina, aka Anna Sorokin, aka Anna Delvey, knew how to run the grift on rich people. The Russian-born trickster moved to New York City in 2013, assumed the identity of a fictitious German heiress, and began stealing in earnest. Her marks were high society types and fancy hotels, and she was good at it for a while. But then she got caught, was tried, was sentenced, and is currently serving 4 to 12 years. Meanwhile, though, Shonda Rhimes is bringing the story to Netflix with Emmy winner Julia Garner (“Ozark”) as Delvey, and a solid supporting cast, including Laverne Cox, Anna Deavere Smith and Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”) as journalist Jessica Pressler, who broke the story (unusual fun fact: this will be the second time Pressler as been portrayed on screen, after Julia Stiles played her in “Hustlers”). And because stories about robbing from the rich and giving to the poor – or whoever, really – are universally appealing (and because we stan Laverne Cox in anything, even TV commercials with Ted Danson) we’re more than ready to watch this one.
Kate McKinnon hunts down ‘Joe Exotic’
Kate McKinnon is working on another project based on a podcast. The Emmy Award-winning “SNL” star is already in production on “The Dropout,” based on ABC News/ABC Radio’s podcast about Theranos fraud Elizabeth Holmes (a no-brainer, really, since they look quite alike and McKinnon is a master at tackling the slightly “off” comedy of bizarrely delusional people). And now she’s joined production company UCP – who’ve already turned the podcasts “Homecoming,” “Dirty John,” and “Dr. Death” into TV projects – for “Joe Exotic,” based on the Wondery network’s podcast called “Over My Dead Body.” McKinnon will executive produce and star in this true story as Carole Baskin, a big cat enthusiast, who discovers that a man named Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel is breeding his own big cats for profit. She tries to shut him down, a rivalry develops, and the two engage in a battle that turns, well, you can listen to the podcast yourself, but it’s a doozy. No word on when this limited series will air, or where, but keep your cat eyes open for it down the road.
Teen romance ‘The Thing About Harry’ coming for Valentine’s Day
Peter Paige, the “Queer As Folk” star-turned-production-mogul who created, wrote and produced shows like “The Fosters” and “Good Trouble,” has a new queer directing gig on the horizon. It’s called “The Thing About Harry” , a romantic comedy for the Freeform network. Starring Jake Borelli (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as a young man taking the yearning romantic’s path through life after coming out in high school, and newcomer Niko Terho as the no-strings player who complicates the lives of yearning romantic types, it’s a straightforward tale of young love and commitment that networks like Hallmark still refuse to touch (and let’s not call it heteronormative for now, let’s just call it sweetly traditional). The film co-stars Britt Baron (“Glow”) and Karamo Brown (“Queer Eye”) as friends, as well as Paige as an older mentor. It all sounds like the “Love, Simon”-ing of gay boy romances, and we are here for it. There’s still an absolute dearth of those, so we’re more than ready to watch come Valentine’s Day, 2020, when it drops.
Romeo San Vicente starts buying Valentine’s Day candy for himself on December 26.