By Romeo San Vicente
Alan Cumming: Honorary lesbian
Romeo is convinced that Alan Cumming is cloning himself in order to work as much as he does. The prolific Scot has four feature films coming soon to theaters. He’s also signed on to co-star in “Gray Matters” with Heather Graham, as well as in “Full Grown Men” with gay icon Deborah Harry and gay-icon-in-the-making Amy Sedaris. And next season on “The L Word,” he’ll be keeping company with Los Angeles’ hottest pack of lesbians. Cumming will join the cast for a six-episode story arc in which he’ll play a New York club maven/drag queen/party promoter. His character will take over management of the fictional Planet nightclub where “L” regulars spend their disco nights. And it’s probably safe to assume that Cumming will be leaving the ladies behind after his six episodes are up. After all, the man has movies to make.
‘Johnny’ Tartaglia comes to TV
John Tartaglia, the Tony-nominated gay star of Broadway hit “Avenue Q,” is taking his puppeteering to TV. The new kid-oriented series, “Johnny and the Sprites,” is in the tradition of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” and is created by Tartaglia and the team of Michael Schupback, Daryl Watson, Jill Cluckson, and Louise Gukow. “Johnny” will air on The Disney Channel beginning in 2006, with Tartaglia to star as himself along with three puppet characters – the “sprites” of the title – in the fantasy-with-music series. Whether or not the toddler demographic warms up to Johnny and his sprite pals like they did for “The Wiggles” remains to be seen. But in the meantime Tartaglia will still have his “Avenue Q” gig to fall back on: The actor will reprise his two roles – both human and puppet – in “Q” when it opens in Las Vegas.
‘Fight Club’ author’s Hollywood shuffle
Gay author Chuck Palahniuk’s books are cult sensations for a literary audience disaffected with most contemporary literature, and the film adaptation of his novel “Fight Club” earned him an even wider groupie base. So why is it taking so long for his other novels to come to the screen? Currently, three are taking their sweet time making it to celluloid. “Choke,” the story of a sex addict and professional fake-choking victim, has been optioned by Bandeira Entertainment ( “Requiem for a Dream”). “Survivor,” about a plane hijacker, is being circled by the makers of the Keanu Reeves-starrer “Constantine” – but post-9/11, it may be circled for a long time. And “Invisible Monsters,” about a disfigured former model and her transgendered friend, is also in development, with Jessica Biel’s name getting tossed around to star. For his part, Palahniuk has been quoted as saying “Choke”‘s production odds are the best right now. Romeo’s not picky – he’s impatient for all of them.
The redneck, his gay brother, and the Mafia
“Deadwood” star Ray McKinnon (he played Reverend H.W. Smith in the first season) is no stranger to the other side of the camera. Recently, he helmed the Billy Bob Thornton-starring indie sleeper, “Chrystal,” which is still making its way around the country’s art-house screens. His latest project will put him on both sides of the lens, and he’ll be playing twins, no less. “Randy And the Mob,” which McKinnon also wrote, revolves around a good ol’ boy, in trouble with organized crime, who runs to his estranged, gay, identical twin brother for help. The Southern-baked comedy will also star indie actress and Oscar-winning producer Lisa Blount, who took home her statuette for the 2001 short film, “The Accountant.” No word on production schedules or release dates, but 2006 sounds like a good bet. Just don’t place it with the redneck mob.
Romeo San Vicente has been known to turn into a bad boy around good ol’ boys. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.