Deep Inside Hollywood

By Romeo San Vicente

Bette Midler chasing Mae

HBO Films recently announced "Mae West," a biopic based on the legendary screen star's autobiography "Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It." Hoping to score another hit along the lines of "Behind The Candelabra," the network has lined up heavy hitters to run the show. The film will be directed by "The Exorcist"'s William Friedkin (who, it should be noted, also directed controversial gay classics "The Boys In The Band" and "Cruising") and written by Harvey Fierstein. And starring as West (and also executive producing) will be Bette Midler, a woman whose own career has more than a little in common with West's. Before Hollywood, both women worked outside the system, Midler singing regularly at New York's Continental Baths and West staging her own plays that routinely scandalized the public standards of the time, works with titles like "Sex" that occasionally forced her to battle and lose against obscenity charges. No other casting has been announced yet so it's unclear as to who will play West as a young woman. And for now we'll just assume that the 68-year-old Midler's contract didn't already force the entire production into a corner requiring digital youngification to make her into a 39-year-old signing her first contract with Paramount. Because that would be weird.

Sofia Coppola moving to 'Fairyland'

Sofia Coppola knows what she's about. Her body of film work has concerned itself with the ways young women respond to being placed in unusual living arrangements. "The Virgin Suicides," "Lost in Translation," "Marie Antoinette," "Somewhere," "The Bling Ring": all of them have in common a sense of adolescent female constriction. Her new project, though, sees life inside a fishbowl as something perhaps more freeing. Coppola will adapt (with Andrew Durham) Alysia Abbott's "Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father." It's a coming-of-age story set in San Francisco, where Abbott was raised by her gay father, Steve Abbott, a widowed poet and activist. Uniquely unsheltered, Alysia Abbott moved among the experimental culture and art scene of the 1970s and 80s, observing it all firsthand as a child before, during and after the first wave of AIDS. No casting has been announced, but Coppola's intuitive approach to the inner lives of girls makes this kind of a perfect fit.

Laverne Cox, breaking out

Laverne Cox, the transgender co-star of "Orange Is the New Black," isn't letting the grass grow under her feet. As one of a handful of rising trans actresses - and clearly aware that the entertainment industry is still figuring out that trans performers exist - she's striking while it's hot. Next she'll be seen in first-time filmmaker Lex Sidon's indie "Grand Street." The plot centers on an out-of-work film executive and aspiring writer as they spend 24 hours traversing the underground culture of New York City. Cox will play a character named Chardonnay and will star alongside Kelly McGillis, longtime character actor Michael Wincott, Sam Robards, British newcomer Charlotte Riley and "Twilight"'s Mia Maestro. Now, about that name: We're going to just hope, strongly, that Cox's performance - and the character, as written - will push the boundaries of stereotype that the name "Chardonnay" brings to mind. But if it doesn't, hey, at least they gave the role to a trans woman.

Meet 'The Fifth Beatle'

Director Peyton Reed ("Bring It On") is about to take on the story of the gay man who was at the epicenter of the rock revolution of the 1960s, a fellow named Brian Epstein. Maybe you don't know who he was, but Epstein discovered The Beatles, got them their first record deal and worked alongside them until his untimely death at age 32 of an accidental sleeping pill overdose. The film is called "The Fifth Beatle" and it's based on Vivek J. Tiwary's graphic novel of the same name. Early stages at the moment, but the project already boasts an impressive feat: access to the Lennon/McCartney song catalog, a privilege afforded to very few. Casting ought to get interesting, too. Which member of One Direction do you think will beg to be considered as John or Paul or George or Ringo? More as this develops...

Romeo San Vicente wants to hold your hand. He can be reached care of this publication or at

MI Marriage Trial

Michigan Same Sex Couples Demand Respect And Equal Treatment

Michigan Leaders React To Feds Recognition Of Marriages

MI Marriage: Schuette Asks For Full Appeals Court Review

The Stay Delayed Allows 315 Couples To Wed In State

Gay Marriage Defines Schuette's Reelection Campaign

Snyder Says Schuette Going Against Trend

Sixth Circuit Continues Stay

Michigan Marriage Ban Struck Down

Michigan Makes History With First Marriages

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Aappeal

Pictures from Ingham County - Getting Married

Pictures from Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 1

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's office - Part 2

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 3

Pictures from Washtenaw County

White Nationalist Group Files Brief Supporting AG's Appeal In Marriage Ruling

Discredited Witness Part Of Right-Wing Cabal

Schauer Celebrates Overturn Of Michigan Marriage Ban

Equality Michigan Circulating Petition to Drop Appeal

Why Are Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette Wasting Michigan Taxpayer Dollars On A Costly Appeal?

Michigan Marriage Ban Co-Author Goes 'Moral'

BTL's Wedding Expo: Like Pride in April

Snyder Says Marriages Invalid

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Appeal

Request To Remove Stay Based On Process And Substance

Schuette Lies To Satisfy Political Base

DOCUMENTS: The decision, the stay, and more

BREAKING: Holder Asked To Recognize Michigan Marriages

Michigan Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

BREAKING: Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay On Michigan Case

BREAKING: Same-Sex Couples Across Michigan Get Hitched

BREAKING: Judge Friedman Declares Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Could Rule Late Today In Mich. Marriage Ban

Michigan Marriage Trial: And Now We Wait

Editor's Viewpoint: Our Long Journey To Justice

Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals

Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand

Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse

Highlights From Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Hearing

Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court

Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week

Marriage Equality Trial Opens : Science v. Fear

Michigan Marriage Center Prepares State For The Possibility!

Michigan Marriage Case Begins

A Trial Full of Experts: Incredible and Not So Credible, In Hazel Park Case

like us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on google+