By Romeo San Vicente
‘IT Chapter Two’ features Xavier Dolan and also that Murder-Clown
Do you arthouse? If so, then you already know that Xavier Dolan, the wunderkind director-actor from Montreal, is responsible for an ever-growing body of queer-themed films that enjoy the international swoon on the film festival circuit – and good ones, too, like Cannes. But if you don’t then you at least know him from watching Adele’s “Hello” video, which he directed. Soon enough, however, you’ll be seeing him play a gay character in the next installment of “IT.” The hugely successful big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel will fast forward for “IT Chapter Two” and continue the story of the now-adult kids and the horrors they confront. The grown-up versions will be played by Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and Isaiah Mustafa (the Old Spice Guy), as well as Dolan as a townsperson attacked for his sexuality. Meanwhile, Bill Skarsgard will return as sewer-dwelling death reaper Pennywise. No word on if they’re going to write in The Babadook as Pennywise’s love interest, but we can all dream.
‘American Horror Story’ crossover time!
Summer’s here, which means only three months until we get the “American Horror Story” crossover event our witching circle has been chanting for. In September comes the unholy alliance of “Coven” and “Murder House,” colliding the different worlds of Ryan Murphy’s ridiculously entertaining series. Sarah Paulson, “Pose”’s Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Cheyenne Jackson, Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman are all involved, and so is a new cast member: “Dynasty”’s Miss Joan Collins. Sure, it’s stunt casting, but that’s kind of what this series has always been about, anyway. And who else but Murphy can put Collins’ camp credentials to work like they deserve? Murphy is also hoping to include Gaga, because of course he is, and he says that the season will be more of a “heightened” story line (as if all earlier seasons were far too grounded in gritty, mundane realism). It should all go deliciously off the rails in the way Murphy shows never fail to do. So once we’re done with the true horror of August television’s “Bachelor in Paradise,” we’ll be ready for something a little less frightening. The timing couldn’t be better.
Billie Holiday re-sings the blues
Older queer audiences will remember the legendary Diana Ross as Billie Holiday in the acclaimed ’70s drama “Lady Sings the Blues.” And like all good things from the past, someone wants to remake it. But don’t look down your nose just yet. As of right now it’s called “Billie” and has attracted Lee Daniels (“Precious,” “Empire”) to the director’s chair, singer-songwriter Andra Day as Holiday, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (“Father Comes Home From the Wars”) to write the script, and “Atlanta”’s Lakeith Stanfield to co-star. There’s no studio yet, so this is all very early days – look at how long it’s taken those Freddie Mercury and Elton John movies to materialize – so changes and delays are pretty much a certainty. But it’s nice to see important women get their place in the pantheon of biopics. The children must learn about Holiday at least before someone makes a film about Ariana Grande.
‘The Ray’ will finally be gay on Blu-ray
You remember when we told you that the first queer animated DC superhero movie was on its way. Well, it’s almost here. “Freedom Fighters: The Ray,” from the creative team behind live-action shows like “Arrow,” “Supergirl” and “The Flash,” is the first time a gay superhero has been the lead character in a DC Comics project. The story follows Ray Terrill (Russell Tovey), a young man who discovers a dying superhero from another Earth, one who looks just like him. The dying doppelganger transfers photokinetic energy to the new Ray, turning him into a superhero, too: just a gay one who still has to come out to his parents. We think this is very good idea, because we already know plenty of queer people who deserve superhero status; it’s long past time that we at least had a cartoon version, and this one is going to fight Nazis, so it couldn’t be more appropriate for this moment in American history. It all arrives to DVD/Blu-ray and streaming platforms at the end of August.