By Romeo San Vicente
Beanie Feldstein and other ‘Humans’
Beanie Feldstein, star of “Booksmart” and the super ambitious 20-year-long Richard Linklater-meets-Stephen Sondheim project “Merrily We Roll Along,” and who is also recently casually public about being queer, has another movie rolling our way. It’s called “The Humans,” and for all you non-theater people, here are the facts: it’s the Tony Award-winning play from Stephen Karam, a comedy about some decidedly non-comedic subjects – depression, dementia, dysfunction – and all of it takes place at a Thanksgiving family dinner. Karam has adapted his stage production for the screen and is also directing a cast that includes Feldstein, Amy Schumer, Steven Yeun (“Burning”), Richard Jenkins, June Squibb and theater vet Jayne Houdyshell (“Little Women”). A24 will release it, and we assume it’ll come along this fall, which is conveniently the time of families with problems (aka all of them) celebrating Thanksgiving and of awardsy-sounding films about families with problems hitting theaters.
Jodie Foster meets the Mona Lisa
History lesson time: In 1911, an Italian employee of the Louvre in Paris stole Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” in order to repatriate the work back to its original Italian home. This was before security cameras were everywhere, so he just walked out of the building with the painting hidden under his coat. The sensational crime helped make the painting the most famous art object in the world, a reputation that continues over 100 years later. And now there’ll be a movie about it. Based on the Seymour Reit book “The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa,” the currently untitled drama is set to be directed by Jodie Foster. Producers are already saying the script – still being written by Bill Wheeler (“Ray Donovan”) – will fictionalize the moment somewhat, because if there’s one thing Hollywood is great at doing it’s making history into something that will cause you to fail the midterm because you watched the film version instead of reading the assigned homework. This news is Sundance fresh, so the finished product might hit screens at any random moment in the near or not-so-near future. Patience, art lovers.
‘Little Shop of Horrors’ remake rumors
“The Little Shop of Horrors” movie remake grinds through the development process and casting possibilities float through the air like alien spores. For a while there all anyone talked about were the boys: Will it star Harry Styles? Zac Efron? And then came the “will Lady Gaga be Audrey?” moment happened. And was Billy Porter available for something? Well, now the Greg Berlanti (“Love, Simon”) project seems to have landed on some new names: Taron Egerton as Seymour, and Scarlett Johansson as Audrey, and then still maybe Billy Porter as the voice of carnivorous outer space flower Audrey II. We’re waiting anxiously for official news here, and all three of these choices seem fine to us – especially Billy Porter – but we’d be lying if we said we were hoping to hear another name from “Pose,” MJ Rodriguez, being discussed for the lead non-plant Audrey role. Her gorgeous singing voice captured our hearts in that very part in a recent Los Angeles stage production. And another thing: We won’t rest until we hear three good names stepping into the Ronette, Crystal and Chiffon chorus. Get back to work, casting people!
Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan’s ‘Ammonite’ finds a Neon home
The gorgeous, moving and very gay indie feature “God’s Own Country” continues to find fans beyond the queer film festival circuit, but its writer-director Francis Lee has already moved on to tell another same-sex love story. The new film “Ammonite,” starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, set in 19th-century England, is about an archeologist (Winslet) who finds herself taking care of a rich man’s wife (Ronan) to help make ends meet. And then the pair fall in love, which is only appropriate when oppressive heterosexuality of the 1800s is afoot. And while we reported on this project’s existence not so long ago, it was unclear what sort of future awaited it. But now American distributor Neon – the people who successfully pushed the amazing “Parasite” in the United States – has picked it up for release, most likely arriving in time for award season. How’s that for a vote of confidence for a movie about a lesbian fossil collector starring women we adore? Bring on the sensual, extinct, marine mollusks!
Romeo San Vicente remains sensual, defies extinction.