By Romeo San Vicente
Desperately seeking ‘Commuters’
What’s that screeching, lurching, gear-changing sound you hear? That’s just every TV executive in Hollywood scrambling to find the next “Desperate Housewives.” CBS execs think they’ve found theirs, and gay writer/producer/actor Dan Bucatinsky (“All Over the Guy”) is their new hope for success. Three years ago Bucatinsky gave birth to “The Commuters,” an innovative black comedy/drama about three couples in suburban New York. The husbands work in the city and the wives at home, making for juicy double lives, secrets, and intrigue. Sound familiar? Well, back then it didn’t sound enough like “CSI” for anyone with decision-making clout to care. But now CBS has greenlighted a pilot they hope will steal some viewers away from risk-taking ABC. Not that they’re desperate or anything.
Annette Bening sharpens her ‘Scissors’
She just won a Golden Globe Award for “Being Julia,” so it’s fitting that Annette Bening will now get to be Julianne. In what amounts to nothing more than a very typical Hollywood shuffle, Bening has replaced Julianne Moore in the screen adaptation of gay author Augusten Burroughs’ best-selling memoir, “Running with Scissors.” The rest of the cast is in place, too – Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Brian Cox, Evan Rachel Wood, and child actor Joseph Cross as young Burroughs – as is Ryan Murphy, queer creator of “Nip/Tuck” and “Popular.” Murphy wrote the screenplay and will also handle the duty of directing Bening as Burroughs’ complicated, eccentric, neglectful mother. Shooting is scheduled to begin in March, so Burroughs fans won’t have much longer to wait for the big-screen dysfunctional family circus to get underway.
‘Doubt’ and ‘Magnolias’ bloom on broadway
Two ladies Romeo loves, Cherry Jones and Delta Burke, are slated for Broadway show action very soon. Lesbian actor Jones (last seen as the pivotally placed mom to Matt Damon in “Ocean’s Twelve”) is already receiving her usual accolades off-Broadway in John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” in which she plays a nun confronting a priest she suspects of sexually abusing a young boy. That play is now scheduled to move to Broadway by May. Meanwhile, a revival of Robert Harling’s 1987 off-Broadway hit, “Steel Magnolias,” makes its first Broadway appearance on Apr. 4, starring “Designing Women” and “Sordid Lives” favorite Delta Burke. The story of a small-town Louisiana beauty parlor will also feature theater vets Marsha Mason, Christine Ebersole, and Frances Sternhagen. So make those New York hotel reservations now.
‘Aristocrats’ set to shock
“The Aristocrats,” which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a documentary of sorts, one in which a very old joke – an incredibly filthy one that’s been passed back and forth between comedians for ages – finally gets its official public airing. That’s the entire plot: the same joke told 100 times in 100 different ways by 100 famous comics. Queer (and queer-adjacent) comedians are in on the joke, too – the movie features Bruce Vilanch, Rip Taylor, Andy Dick, Mario Cantone, hetero transvestite Eddie Izzard, Whoopi Goldberg, and “South Park”‘s honorary homosexuals, Trey Stone and Matt Parker. They’ll appear alongside fellow famous funny people like Phyllis Diller, Drew Carey, Penn & Teller, and Chris Rock. Of course, the joke in question is so offensive and scatological that it’ll be interesting to see how audiences react to 100 doses of it in a row. Romeo safely predicts an NC-17 rating in its future.