By Romeo San Vicente
‘Love, Simon,’ meet ‘Love, Cecil’
Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber have acquired the latest documentary from Lisa Immordino Vreeland (“Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel”). The film, “Love, Cecil,” is based on Vreeland’s book, “Love, Cecil: A Journey With Cecil Beaton,” and dives into the fascinating life of production designer, photographer and legendary 20th-century queer figure Cecil Beaton. Incorporating new footage and other unseen material, with excerpts from his diaries narrated by Rupert Everett, the film follows his work with “Vogue,” his time spent with the British Royal Family, and a perhaps shockingly bisexual liaison with Greta Garbo. It’s all going to be very chic in that vintage aristocratic sense, and should prove to be the perfect moviegoing antidote to all the crashingly loud superhero films (it opens at the end of June, high season for capes and tights) that will try to drown it out. Old-school queens, you have your summer cinema agenda.
Kristen Stewart takes on Jean Seberg
The late Jean Seberg, the American actress whose face helped usher in the French New Wave in Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” lived what can only be called a difficult, and in the end, tragic life. Her personal relationships with directors were fraught with trouble and her ’60s activism landed her on FBI watch lists. In other words, perfect material for a thoughtful and pointed biopic about what happens when women actors don’t always behave themselves the way powerful men want. Well, “Against All Enemies,” from director Benedict Andrews (“Una”) and screenwriters Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel (both “Frankie & Alice”), will explore Seberg’s rocky path and Kristen Stewart will be stepping into her shoes. Stewart is on an artistic roll lately, with acclaim coming her way with each new small, personal, non-blockbuster project, and that, in turn, gives this feature a sense of importance simply because she’s chosen to engage with difficult subject matter. In the meantime, the great documentary, “From The Journals of Jean Seberg,” is a good place to get yourself up to speed on the fascinating actor’s troubled story.
‘Gotham’’s Cory Michael Smith comes out, joins ‘First Man’ cast
You need a scorecard to keep up with the next generation of actors who are pre-empting speculation and just coming out before they get famous and saddled with skittish publicists. This week it’s a fellow named Joey Pollari (who perhaps not coincidentally had a small but relevant role in “Love, Simon”) and also “Gotham” star Cory Michael Smith. On that show Smith plays Young Riddler, but he’s also the lead in the gay period drama “1985” that just bowed at SXSW and will be rolling into arthouses soon. Bigger still, he’s got a part in the latest from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle. It’s called “First Man,” it’s the story of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and that legendary moon landing, and it co-stars a list of ensemble players as long as your arm: “The Crown”’s Claire Foy, Jon Bernthal (“The Punisher”), Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke and Lukas Haas, to name a few. Smith will play naval Roger Chaffee, a naval aviator who died in an early pre-landing test. So congratulations to this young man. From here it all looks like the beginning of a winning career, one that will have one less stressful element to navigate when household name status finally arrives.
Gina Rodriguez will probably slay in ‘Miss Bala’
The new Catherine Hardwicke film, “Miss Bala,” is a remake of a 2011 film from Mexico, about a beauty contest contestant forced to work for a crime boss after she witnesses a murder. There’s a cast booked for the project, including “Kingdom” star Matt Lauria. But there’s one star who’s still got the word “rumored” next to her name in any online discussion of the film, and that’s Gina Rodriguez, the force of nature behind “Jane the Virgin.” As certified GR obsessives, we check on this status on a pretty regular basis, hoping that the ink is dry on the contract and we can openly cheer on our favorite sexually fluid Latinx woman. And if you have a problem with calling her that, then just check her social media where she refuses to obscure or label her sexuality, and openly swoons over her “Annihilation” co-star Tessa Thompson (who herself recently made a very bisexual-leaning music video with Janelle Monae). Sure, no definitive statements have happened yet, but we’re still very into it and are definitely here for the loose, undefined approach of this new generation of relaxed Hollywood queerness. Now, please, Ms. R, get that job.
Romeo San Vicente is working through his own private March Madness chart.