By Romeo San Vicente
Nixon meets Roosevelt
One was rumored to have had an affair with a woman; the other just recently confirmed having a lesbian relationship. That used to be the only common ground between Eleanor Roosevelt and Cynthia Nixon. But now Nixon will play Franklin Roosevelt’s first lady in the HBO movie “Warm Springs.” With Kenneth Branagh as FDR, the film will tell the story of Roosevelt’s life before he became president, from his time in the New York State Senate to his polio diagnosis in 1921 and the various cures he sought afterward. Helmed by veteran TV movie director Joseph Sargent, production is scheduled to begin any minute with a probable 2005 air date. Till then, Nixon fanatics can get their fix with Robert Altman’s “Tanner on Tanner,” now airing on Showtime.
Looks like Southfork Ranch has a facelift in its future. As if big-screen remakes of every TV series ever created, from “Dukes of Hazzard” to “Miami Vice,” weren’t enough, Robert Luketic (“Legally Blonde”) is in negotiations to direct a feature-film version of the long-running hit TV series “Dallas.” The movie, to be scripted by “Steel Magnolias” and “First Wives Club” screenwriter Robert Harling, will bring many of the original characters up to the present date, with oil king J.R. Ewing now running the most powerful energy company on the planet. Look for the same big cowboy hats, wicked plot turns, and vicious backstabbing that made the original series so much fun. Romeo, meanwhile, is hoping for the return of Charlene Tilton.
Schumacher enters ‘Crowded Room’
” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera,” Joel Schumacher’s latest film, opens this Christmas. Meanwhile, the hardworking gay director is already diving into his next project, “The Crowded Room,” a complete about-face from a big romantic musical. Based on Daniel Keyes’ book, “The Minds of Billy Milligan,” “Room” centers on a mentally ill man, charged with kidnapping and rape, who is also discovered to have 24 separate personalities brought on by years of childhood sexual abuse. The project has been in and out of development for years, and at different times has had every major director from Steven Soderbergh to Gus Van Sant slated to helm it, and actors from Brad Pitt to Sean Penn to Billy Crudup attached to star. Now that Schumacher is on board, the mystery of who’ll run with all 24 leads should be solved soon.
‘Playing It Straight:’ The Movie
Once upon a time – OK, it was just earlier this year – there was a doomed gay reality series called “Playing It Straight,” in which gay men acted straight to trick an unwitting bachelorette. Apparently, no one but Romeo tuned in, and so it was quickly cancelled, the winner forever unknown. Now that show’s title is getting a second chance. In production, the movie “Playing It Straight” has nothing to do with the cancelled show except the potential for a little identity confusion. The plot revolves around a man who relies on relationship advice from his gay identical twin. Unfortunately, too much homo advice botches the hetero bliss, and big laughs ensue – or so it’s hoped, unless keeping that title turns out to be bad luck. Not that Romeo is superstitious or anything.