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By Romeo San Vicente
Colin Farrell travels ‘The North Water’
Andrew Haigh (“Weekend,” “45 Years”) is busy working on a new limited series, “The North Water.” Haigh adapted the novel by Ian McGuire and is directing the BBC four-parter due in 2020. Colin Farrell stars as a harpooner on an Arctic whaling expedition (he also happens to be a murderous psychopath, but nobody’s perfect ). On board he meets a ship’s doctor (Jack O’Connell, “Unbroken”) who’s not quite ready for the encounter or for the brutal journey of survival the two will come to share. Supporting cast includes acclaimed actor-filmmaker Peter Mullan (“Ozark”) and legendary British character actor Tom Courtenay (“45 Years,” and, you know, little movies like “Doctor Zhivago”). It’s not necessarily a queer-specific story – even if the captain of this TV ship is – but it’s already reminding us a little bit of “The Lighthouse,” with its vibe of tortured, toxic, freaked-out masculinity and sublimated homoerotic rage. So this’ll be fun!
‘Follies’ on film, finally
Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning 1971 musical “Follies” is getting the movie treatment, deservedly so, after nearly 50 years. Filmmaker Dominic Cooke (“On Chesil Beach”) will adapt the show, after directing the 2017 stage revival at London’s National Theatre (a production so popular it was brought back for encore performances in 2019). Featuring the musical theater standards “Broadway Baby,” “I’m Still Here” and “Losing My Mind,” (famously covered by Liza Minnelli and The Pet Shop Boys in the late ’80s) the story is set in a Broadway theater scheduled for demolition, where a reunion of former performers is taking place. The middle-age-to-senior cast tell stories of success and disappointment and heartbreak, so when casting shapes up (somebody ask Liza!) it’s going to be a who’s who of baby boomer (and older) Broadway babies. No word yet on who they’ll be, or when it’s supposed to hit screens, so more on this one soon.
Taika Waititi’s non-binary goals
Filmmaker Taika Waititi’s career now spans wild comedy (“What We Do In The Shadows”), Marvel Cinematic Universe box-office juggernauts (“Thor: Ragnarok”), and daring Oscar-buzz satires (“JoJo Rabbit”). So naturally his next move is an inspirational sports film about a Samoan soccer team. It’s called “Next Goal Wins,” and it’s about a real-life team’s resurgence after suffering the longest losing streak in international football. What’s queer about that? The existence of Jaiyah Saelua, the first non-binary player to compete in a men’s FIFA World Cup qualifying match. And what’s queer about the casting is that it will be the debut film role for actor Kaimana, who is a “fa’afafine” Samoan actor (in Samoan culture, “fa’afafine” people comprise a non-binary gender identity). In other words, this will be the next step in non-binary representation in cinema, both in character placement and casting (after non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon’s role in “John Wick: Parabellum”) and that’s a significant development.
‘Cicada’ gives ‘SNL’’s Bowen Yang a movie role
We listen to Yang’s podcast “Las Culturistas” and know him as one of the new cast additions to “SNL.” Of course, more importantly, like the rest of queer America, we also now know him as one of the writers of the instantly legendary “Sara Lee Instagram” sketch. At this point we’re pretty much just stalking his career wherever it happens to meander, like into the indie drama “Cicada,” currently in production. The first narrative feature from filmmaker Matthew Fifer, it’s the story of a young queer man who enters an interracial relationship and who then must, over the course of a summer, come to terms with traumatic childhood experiences. Fifer will play the one of the leads, as will fellow newcomer Sheldon Brown, but the supporting cast includes Yang and some very established names like Cobie Smulders (“Avengers”), Scott Adsit (“30 Rock”) and David Burtka (“A Very Merry Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” where he played a bizarre version of himself alongside husband Neil Patrick Harris). We’re expecting this one to hit indie film festivals first, so keep tabs on it.
Romeo San Vicente loves Sara Lee poundcake and you’ll have to get your own because he doesn’t share.