Deep Inside Hollywood

By Romeo San Vicente

Hee Haw! Bringing the Opry to Broadway

If Green Day can go Broadway then the same thing can happen for old-fashioned country music, right? That's the reasoning behind the move to bring TV's one and only vintage country variety show, "Hee Haw," to the stage. Steve Buchanan, head of Opry Entertainment Group, is developing "Hee Haw: The Musical" for arrival on Broadway in spring of 2015. A recent script reading (written by "13" co-creator Robert Horn) impressed a roomful of producers, and Nashville hitmakers Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark are already cranking out songs for the show. Instead of mimicking the TV show's variety format, the story involves a young woman from Kornfield Kounty determined to see the world before she settles down with her boyfriend. Of course, word is that characters from the show, beloved folks like Lulu Roman, Grandpa Jones and Junior Samples, are a part of the action, which leads us to believe that those people all live somewhere along the Seine until discovered by our heroine. Or maybe not. Whatever tweaks are made to the program's contributions to popular country culture, you can bet that tourists from the South (and, well, everywhere else, too) are going to eat it up like a bowl of buttered grits. Last question: Will Harvey Fierstein play Lulu or Minnie Pearl? SAHHHH-LOOT!

Mo'Nique finally picks a new movie to be in

Academy Award winners and career heat: they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Unless you're Mo'Nique, of course. Then you hang back and chill until something you really want to do comes along. It took awhile but she'll make her next big-screen appearance in the new indie from gay filmmaker Patrik Ian Polk ("Noah's Arc") titled "Blackbird." She'll co-star alongside Isaiah Washington and executive produce the film, which is based on Larry Duplechan's novel about a black teenage boy (newcomer Julian Walker) coming out as gay in the South and dealing with divorcing parents and a sister who disappears. Due for a 2014 release after finishing production in Mississippi, look for this one to find its way to an arthouse (or VOD platform) near you sooner rather than later.

Richard Pryor: from one gay director to another?

Remember that Richard Pryor movie that was supposed to happen with Eddie Murphy and director Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls," "The Fifth Estate")? It's not happening anymore. That's Hollywood. Oh, wait, now it might be happening again, just not with either of those guys. Now talks with Lee Daniels ("The Butler") have begun and, while Murphy is still being considered for the role, so are younger actors like Marlon Wayans and Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station"). Though Pryor died in his 60s, the biopic will cover the groundbreaking comic during his 30s, which would make a Wayans or Jordan choice more appropriate. And no matter what happens, don't hold your breath for this one. It'll probably happen eventually. But just look at how long it took "The Normal Heart" to get anywhere. And it still hasn't aired. OK, yes, it's slated for May on HBO. But you get it.

For the Bible tells me so

The Ten Commandments, who doesn't love those tips for living? All that shalt not murdering and avoiding covetousness and quitting doing it with your neighbor's wife - they're very popular. And now they're going to be a miniseries from The Weinstein Company on WGN America. The 10-part scripted series will employ a variety of filmmakers to tackle each golden rule, people like Michael Cera, Jim Sheridan ("Dream House") and Wes Craven ("A Nightmare on Elm Street"). Acclaimed gay directors Lee Daniels ("The Butler") and Gus Van Sant ("My Own Private Idaho") are also on board, putting their own contemporary (and maybe queer?) spin on the material. There's no casting news yet but it could turn into a major ensemble event if everything comes together. One problem, though: If they include the one about graven images, doesn't that make turning it into a film sort of automatically sinful? Oh well, can't win them all, can you?

Romeo San Vicente is made of sin. And gluten. But mostly sin. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.

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