By Romeo San Vicente
John Cusack is ex-gay
Forget what you’ve heard about gay characters in films being no big deal in Hollywood anymore. Apparently, sometimes they’re still a “very” big deal. It’s bad enough that Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” might have its gay romance neutered, but now director Nick Cassavetes and actor John Cusack are part of Hollywood’s de-gaying process, too. Cassavetes will direct and Cusack will star in the film adaptation – penned by gay screenwriter Jonathan Tolins (“Twilight of the Golds”) and Seth Bass – of gay author David Gerrold’s book “The Martian Child.” When Romeo first reported on this story, it looked like the plot would follow that of the original book, in which a gay man adopts a 6-year-old boy, only to discover that the child believes himself to be from Mars. In the film, however, Cusack’s character will be straight. So far, no one is saying why the gay character was declared an unfit parent and why that change was so vital to the movie’s development, but it’s a safe bet to say it has a lot to do with the continued triumph of commerce over art. The film begins shooting this fall.
Brendan Fraser’s queer ‘Secret’
Will he look as good in a James Bond-style tuxedo as he did in his “George of the Jungle” loincloth? That’s the real question to be answered when Brendan Fraser steps into the role of “Gay Secret Agent.” Currently in negotiations to star, Fraser may well be the next “Austin Powers,” one with a distinct twist in the “shagging” department. And speaking of Powers, that franchise’s producers, Suzanne and Jennifer Todd, are also the ones behind this espionage spoof written by “Saturday Night Live” alum Brad Hall and Andrew Gottlieb. Translation: Expect lots of broad, silly riffing on gay stereotypes, so keep your sense of humor tuned to Lowest Common Denominator. Meanwhile, Romeo wants to know how much male eye-candy of the Bond Girl variety will make it to the final cut.
Jamie Babbitt connects to ‘Dot’
Lesbian filmmaker Jamie Babbitt (“But I’m A Cheerleader”) is about to take a break from her busy career directing episodes of shows like “Malcolm in the Middle,” “The Bernie Mac Show,” “Nip/Tuck,” and “Gilmore Girls” to return to the world of feature films. Babbitt will direct the thriller “Dot,” from writers Micah Schraft and Abdi Nazemian (ABC Family’s “Beautiful Girl”). “Dot” concerns a deaf teenage orphan and the dark goings-on that arise when she moves in with a “typical” family – one that turns out to be anything but. Unique to this project is the support of the University of Texas in Austin, whose film school sponsors a program that gives its students hands-on experience making low-budget movies. In other words, they’re donating a lot of free labor, and there’s not a producer in the world who’d say no to that kind of deal.
‘South Park’ guys string up ‘Team America’
“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are taking a break from their animated world of profanity-spewing children to enter the world of marionette superheroes. “Team America,” the first all-marionette feature film since “Thunderbirds Are Go!” hit big screens in 1966, is currently shooting in collaboration with gay super-producer Scott Rudin, featuring music by Marc Shaiman. Team America”‘s plot involves string-controlled puppets fighting evil forces and annoying celebrities, and, given the overwhelming amount of absurdly silly gay content to be found in every project these guys have ever taken on, there’s an almost 100 percent certainty that Parker and Stone’s obsession with homosexuality will rear its head yet again. Look for an autumn release – just in time to skewer the presidential election.