By Romeo San Vicente
Tessa Thompson spins off
Tessa Thompson is tearing up movie screens this summer in “Sorry to Bother You” as the woman with the world’s most anarchic earrings. And if you think you’ve seen her before, it’s because she’s spent 13 years working regularly in film and TV: on “Westworld,” in “Dear White People,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” and, most recently, that Janelle Monae video that spawned all the rumors of their now-confirmed-now-denied romantic relationship (both women recently came out but are still keeping their private details private, so we’re happy to give them their space). Now all those years of dues-paying has yet another franchise opportunity, this time outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Thompson will play a lead role in next year’s “Men In Black” spin-off film (as yet untitled). Director F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton”) has taken on helming duties, and Thompson’s co-stars include Chris Hemsworth, Rafe Spall, Liam Neeson and Kumail Nanjiani. No story details yet – they’re rightly keeping everything under wraps – but you’ll know everything you need to know come summer of 2019.
Sean Hayes’ drag race
It’s a comedy tradition, the man in a dress. Milton Berle, Tyler Perry, Tom Hanks, Martin Lawrence, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Eddie Murphy have all done it to great success. Adam Sandler has, too, but we’re trying to forget about that. Now it’s Sean Hayes’ turn in an indie comedy called “Lazy Susan.” Co-written by Hayes, Darlene Hunt (“The Big C”), and Carrie Aizley (“Transparent”), it’s about a woman named Susan – that’s Hayes – with a lot of problems, including a lack of motivation to solve those problems. It co-stars Aizley, Margo Martindale, Jim Rash, Matthew Broderick and Allison Janney. These are, to a person, comedy names we trust, but still we have no idea if the final product will work in the tradition of “Some Like It Hot” or crash and burn like “Jack and Jill” (that’s the Sandler one, and it hurts to even type out the title). For now we trust and hope and wait and watch some reruns of “Trixie & Katya” to keep our enthusiasm stoked.
Learn this name: Marja-Lewis Ryan
Maybe you’ve got your ear very close to the ground of LGBTQ creative endeavors. Maybe you’re one of her brunch pals. Otherwise it wouldn’t be out of the question if you didn’t know Marja-Lewis Ryan. But this is the era of creators like Lena Waithe and Bryan Fuller becoming fanned over names due to the quality of their output, and Ryan has a lot of irons in the fire right now. Her queer drama, “The Four-Faced Liar,” won the Outstanding First Narrative Feature award from Los Angeles’ LGBTQ film festival Outfest. She also wrote and directed “6 Balloons,” starring Abbi Jacobson and Dave Franco, streaming now on Netflix. She’s been tapped as showrunner for the Showtime reboot of “The L Word.” And now she’s signed a deal for an Amazon TV series called “College,” about six university roommates who, according to the official log line, “hook up, mess up, and grow up.” Co-produced by Transparent’s Jill Soloway and Channing Tatum (with whom Ryan is also working on a remake of “Splash”), it should keep Ryan busy for those remaining hours of the day when she might otherwise sleep or eat. Go catch up on this talented woman’s body of work because right now it looks like it’s not going to slow down for dawdlers.
It’s time to ‘Mess with Roy Cohn’
Was there ever a more damaged and destructive gay villain in modern political history than the late Roy Cohn? In the 1950s he got his feet wet as an assistant to anti-Communist life-wrecker Senator Joseph McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee. Then in the ’80s he was Donald Trump’s lawyer, a fairly consistently evil power broker, and a vicious public homophobe even though he was himself a closeted gay man with AIDS. Now Matt Tyrnauer, the documentary filmmaker responsible for “Valentino: The Last Emperor,” this summer’s theatrically released doc “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood,” as well as A&E’s forthcoming “Studio 54,” is hard at work on “Don’t Mess With Roy Cohn.” The film will cover what amounts to the lasting effects of Cohn, how his political tactics and deeply polarizing actions set the stage for the ascendance of maniacal conservatives like the current U.S. President, whom he mentored decades ago. So it won’t be exactly an uplifting story, but one we need to remember and guard against allowing to happen again.
Romeo San Vicente hasn’t given up hope.