Arts & Entertainment
Deep Inside Hollywood
By Romeo San Vicente
Originally printed 5/15/2014 (Issue 2220 - Between The Lines News)
Queen Latifah will bend it like Bessie
So she's never returned to the glorious swagger of her stone-butch, bank-robbin' "Set It Off" days. And she's being very old-school Jodie about talking/not-talking about her off-camera life. Still. But damn it, we love Queen Latifah anyway; we can't help ourselves. And her new project isn't hurting things at all: a biopic of bisexual blues goddess Bessie Smith, directed by acclaimed young lesbian filmmaker Dee Rees. Mostly we're happy for Rees, of course. After making a splash with her critically loved yet under-seen "Pariah," we were worried she'd get jerked around and ignored by Hollywood's indifference machine. But HBO is partnered up with this one - tentatively titled "Blue Goose Hollow" - and that means no begging for a chance to direct basic cable sitcoms and TV movies nobody watches for this talented director. Who knows, maybe Latifah guided her longtime pet project to Rees; that's a nice thing to wishfully imagine happening. And if it's true then that's more Get Out Of Gay Pride Jail Free cards for the warm, friendly, mind-your-own-business superstar. Look for this one to hit the airwaves in 2015.
At home with Rihanna and ... Jim Parsons
The idea of Rihanna starring alongside Jim Parsons actually makes a little more sense than Rihanna starring alongside aliens in a film based on a sea-faring, military-themed board game. And this time around it's not even live-action. The movie is called "Home" (way to make that one practically un-Google-able, you guys), it's due this Thanksgiving from DreamWorks and director Tim Johnson ("Over The Hedge," "Antz") and it's... oh, wait, it's also about aliens. Anyway, these aliens aren't out to sink anyone's battleships. They simply want a new home and think they're helping humanity by trying to relocate them. RiRi voices a headstrong teenage girl named Tip (whose mother is voiced by Jennifer Lopez) who's managed to elude the aliens. Tip wants to set things right and Parsons is, of course, one of the space invaders (alongside Steve Martin). On its way to the kind of predictably happy ending guaranteed in animated family movies, the film can claim at least one cinematic victory - it marks another step in the right direction by featuring a young, female, African-American heroine, something nobody was in a hurry to do after the middling success of "The Princess and the Frog." It can't rightfully be called a trend. But wouldn't it be cool if it became one?
MTV plans to tackle the real-life real world
A recent study has suggested that MTV's "16 and Pregnant" has bucked the trend of exploitation reality programming and actually had a positive effect on the number of teenage girls giving birth. In other words, kids are watching, taking note of what a bummer it is to be a teen parent, and avoiding the whole mess. So why not more programming that might sway kids in a positive direction? That's the plan at the network (no, old person, they haven't shown any Human League videos for quite some time) where a series of programs are due to roll out. Confirmed titles include "True Life: I'm a Gay Athlete" and something called "Untitled Whiteness Project" (honestly, we don't know if that's the title or if it really is untitled), as well as a variety of PSAs meant to encourage Millenials in the direction of understanding issues like racial privilege, gender bias and sexual orientation. And even if these shows are just drops in a bucket, they're preferable additions to that one where teenagers threw tantrums over their birthday parties. We've thankfully forgotten the name and do not wish to be reminded.
More of that stuff you like
It's official. HBO is bringing back its cancelled cult sitcom "The Comeback," starring Lisa Kudrow as an obnoxious, grasping, D-lister. We wondered and wished and hoped and prayed and it's happening. So thanks, TV gods. You are not 100 percent horrible all the time, even if you did snatch "Happy Endings" away from our warm embrace. And gay people, you probably missed it the first time around (hence its initial cancellation), so don't sleep on this caustic comedy anymore... Meanwhile, "Orange is The New Black"? Picked up for a third season, you say? Yes, please and thank you. There is no greater piece of lesbian/trans/funny/weird television programming happening in the United States right now and it should be a show forever, so this is excellent news for everyone... And what's that? "Pitch Perfect 2" is really casting and Elizabeth Banks will direct and everyone from the first film is "rumored" to be returning? We like that, too, just as long as they don't ignore songwriter Ester Dean (the only person currently missing from the rumor roster); the "a cappella" world, to be truly satisfying, must have as many lesbians as it has songs about cups.Romeo San Vicente has all the stuff you like. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.