By Romeo San Vicente
Barrymore gets lucky with Messing
Drew Barrymore and Debra Messing are now a sister act. The pair signed on to star in 8 Mile-director Curtis Hanson’s latest comedy-drama, Lucky You, scheduled to begin shooting this month in Las Vegas. Bisexual Barrymore plays a singer in a Cirque du Soleil-style casino show, with Will & Grace’s Messing as her older sister. The story, penned by Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), involves the siblings meeting a professional poker player (Troy star Eric Bana), a man dealing with his game and with his own estranged father. There’s a love story in there, too, and no word yet about who falls for whom, but Romeo’s keen nose for plot contrivances smells a “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” triangle. So if it means more shirtless screen time for Eric Bana, then let it happen.
Catherine (and Rupert) the great
Romeo loves a good Victorian-era romantic comedy, the kind where the ladies wear big hats and everyone falls in love at the country estate. And the latest addition to the genre, The Great Farrell, stars Rupert Everett, the hilarious Catherine O’Hara, and German actor Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire). The film is set to begin shooting in England this June, and is based on the novel Buried Alive by British Victorian novelist Arnold Bennett. Ganz stars as famous yet shy painter Priam Farrell, a man yearning to escape into anonymity. Taking on the identity of his valet (Everett), Farrell retreats to the British countryside, begins painting under his new name, and is subsequently accused of forging the work of “The Great Farrell.” Can’t you just taste the Earl Grey tea already?
Portman and Purefoy’s endetta
Nothing about the upcoming movie adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta – starring Closer’s Natalie Portman and Vanity Fair’s James Purefoy – reads as specifically gay. Yet the creative forces behind it are swimming in queer cred. Take Moore, whose acclaimed Watchmen and From Hell transformed the graphic novel. His most recent book, The Mirror of Love, is an epic historical poem about gay love – written by a straight man. And Vendetta screenwriters Andy and Larry Wachowski (The Matrix) are not only responsible for the lesbian thriller Bound, but brother Larry has been openly transitioning genders for the past couple of years. Will all this backstory inform the tale of a man named V (Purefoy) who battles a future fascist state? Maybe not, but Romeo will be keeping an eye out for subtext.
Wayward queer cinema
Even with the recent influx of Asian film into the English-language market, the movies of openly gay Chinese director Tsai Ming-Liang remain obscure. There are reasons for that – they contain little dialogue, minimal plot, and long, uninterrupted cuts. When he covers gay subject matter, it’s usually of the dark and troubled variety. And if none of that sounds like much fun, then maybe his new film – a musical about porn stars – will change that. The Wayward Cloud, which recently won the Berlin International Film Festival’s Silver Bear for “outstanding artistic contribution,” is an oddly comic but moody story of Asian porn actors who also happen to occasionally break into song. Unusual, yes, but that may help its distribution chances. In the meantime, look for it to pop up at an arty film festival near you.