By Romeo San Vicente
Someone filmed his life tonight
Romeo’s favorite wardrobe-malfunction accomplice, Justin Timberlake, is about to get his name over the title for the first time in his budding movie career. The pop star will play Elton John in a feature about the queer music legend’s life. Handpicked by Sir Reginald himself, Timberlake’s already stuck his own hand in the script – the first draft was apparently too light on both tantrums and tiaras – and demanded that the film not sanitize the wild lifestyle John led in the 1970s and ’80s. Timberlake’s played John twice in music videos, so he’s had some practice impersonating his hero. Now it’s up to the dialect coaches. The film is expected to start shooting later this year for a planned 2006 release. No other actors are attached yet, but Romeo hears the competition is fierce in the Kiki Dee casting sessions.
Rupert Everett straightens up
Forget the overused lesbian kiss plotline as a May sweeps ratings-grabber. The hot homo move this May is casting openly gay actors in straight roles. “Boston Legal”, the show that gives “Will & Grace” some stiff competition in the guest-star “get” department – and which has already seen Freddie Prinze Jr., Dana Delany, Carl Reiner, Shelly Long, Kerry Washington, and Al Sharpton pass through its halls of justice this season – is about to host Rupert Everett. In his first stateside network prime-time drama, the queer Brit will appear in at least three May episodes of the lawyer-centric series, playing slick civil litigator Malcolm Holmes. His hetero character will go head to head in court against ex-girlfriend Tara (“Legal” regular Rhona Mitra), so expect old romantic complaints to be re-examined in court.
‘Suckers’ for Madonna
Defying the idea that she mixes with movies like oil with water, Madonna has two new big-screen projects on track. In the first one, “Hello, Suckers” (which she’ll co-produce with “Aviator” director Martin Scorsese), Madonna plays Texas Guinan, the real-life star of silent-movie Westerns who also ran a New York speakeasy where she greeted her customers with the title line. Meanwhile, a follow-up to “Truth or Dare” is set to debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Directed by Jonas Ackerlund (“Spun”), the still-untitled documentary follows the singer on her 2004 Reinvention Tour and is said to lay to rest rumors about Her Madgesty’s life, as well as explain her devotion to Kabbalah. That’s good news, because Romeo still can’t figure it out.
Jenni Olson’s ‘Joy’
San Francisco’s Jenni Olson is a critic, film archivist (her “Homo Promo” collection of vintage queer movie trailers was recently released on DVD), and now a feature director. Her debut, “The Joy of Life”, recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival and has just been acquired by Frameline for North American distribution. “Joy” joins two tales of the city – one the story of a butch lesbian’s search for love in San Francisco, and the other a history of the Golden Gate Bridge as a location for countless suicides – in an experimental examination on the search for both life’s meaning and its end. The film will screen at the San Francisco International Film Festival in May and receive art-house distribution later in the year. Expect it also to stir more hometown dialogue over the need for an effective jumping barrier on the Golden Gate.