By: Romeo San Vicente*/Special for TRT–
The Butler’s conservative icon: Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda has spent her entire life working for liberal causes when she wasn’t busy building a career as one of our most acclaimed actresses. And if you’re old enough to remember the era when she was disparagingly referred to as “Hanoi Jane,” you’ll know that she wasn’t afraid to court controversy and right-wing scorn in the process. Now, in her eighth decade, she’s going to court a little more by playing Nancy Reagan in gay director Lee Daniels’ (Precious) new film The Butler. A biopic of White House butler Eugene Allen, who worked for a string of Presidents from 1952 to 1986, Daniels is currently in talks with Forest Whitaker to take on the title role. And with an African-American filmmaker in charge of a production about a black man in a domestic service position, here’s hoping the finished product can avoid the kind of negative press that followed last year’s The Help. Of course, no matter how the movie turns out, Fox News is going to get a lot of mileage out of it.
Glee’s Brittany S. Pierce meets Kids’ Harmony Korine
Indie filmmaker Harmony Korine is no stranger to the weird. He’s built an outsider-cool reputation thanks to his early script for the ’90s drama Kids and his later increasingly bizarre films Gummo (about trailer park Americana), Mister Lonely (about a commune populated by celebrity impersonators who live each day as their chosen alter ego) and Trash Humpers (about… well, the title explains it). So what’s next for the daring director? How about a spring break action-comedy featuring America’s favorite teenage lesbian cheerleader? Glee’s Heather Morris has joined the cast of Korine’s Spring Breakers, a head-scratching detour about four college girls who rob a restaurant to fund their spring break vacation, only to fall in with a gang of drug and arms dealers who want them to work full time on the opposite side of the law. And Morris isn’t the only stunt-casting move here. Rounding out the cast is James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Pretty Little Liars regular Ashley Benson. Get ready, tweens, Harmony Korine is coming to corrupt you.
Steel Magnolias: the TV movie, produced by Queen Latifah
If you never saw the original 1989 film version of Steel Magnolias with Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts then you’ve got a little catching up to do on the subjects of Southern idiosyncrasy, female bonding, the trouble with men, the fragility of life and the importance of a good hairstyle (it’s all centered around a beauty salon). A huge hit and an enduring touchstone of gay culture, it was, therefore, a no-brainer that Lifetime would want to get behind a small-screen remake. Even smarter? Executive producer Queen Latifah (still not an official lesbian, for the record) has assembled an all-black cast filled with beloved names like Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott, Latifah herself and newcomers like lesbian indie film Pariah’s breakout star Adepero Oduye. Talk about crossing demographic boundaries. This is probably going to call for a girls night in when it finally hits the airwaves.
Let’s start the boycott of Ender’s Game now
Sci-fi author Orson Scott Card hates gays. That’s the first thing you should know. Like, he really hates gays. Just Google some of the things he’s said about us. It’s Santorum-level stuff. He actively fights civil rights laws. He’s on the board of the anti-gay group, the National Organization for Marriage. And that’s why it’s more than a little disconcerting to report that his most famous novel, Ender’s Game, a modern sci-fi classic, is about to get the big-budget, big screen treatment from X-Men Origins: Wolverine director Gavin Hood. It will star Hugo’s Asa Butterfield as Ender, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld and Sir Ben Kingsley. Expect hardcore sci-fi fans to geek out and look the other way, gay sci-fi fans to feel conflicted, Card apologists to lecture you on how to separate the art from the artist and Hollywood to pretend like they haven’t just bankrolled Maggie Gallagher a little more. Coming soon to a multiplex near you.
*Romeo San Vicente likes science fiction best when its creators respect science. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.