Deep Inside Hollywood: Tomlin and Tina, Chelsea Handler, Divine, Bill Condon

Tina Fey
Photo: Universal Pictures

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Tina Fey
Photo: Universal Pictures

By: Romeo San Vicente*/Special for TRT–

Admission: Tomlin’s here, but you’re probably coming for Tina

Every smartypants lesbian we know loves Tina Fey, even though she plays for the other team. And when Admission, her latest film, opens next spring, that audience will get the added bonus of actual lesbian Lily Tomlin as a co-star. The story revolves around Fey as a college admissions director who both falls for Paul Rudd and learns that the baby she gave up for adoption might well be a maladjusted genius applying for admission to her school. It’s always good news when Tomlin decides to do a film, but it’s always just as interesting to see how Fey carries a movie that she didn’t write. The star didn’t call her book Bossypants for no reason: as former head writer of SNL, screenwriter of Mean Girls and creator of 30 Rock, she is, more often than not, seemingly in charge of her own destiny. But she’s had pretty good luck so far, appearing comfortably at home in the comedies Baby Mama and Date Night. And if she can do warm-hearted romance-and-family comedy without turning it all inside out with Liz Lemon-style self-deprecation and absurdity, she’ll be inching closer to, well, a persona her fans don’t quite recognize. And you’ll have to wait until March of 2013 to find out.

 

Chelsea Handler presents Fortune Feimster’s furniture show

Regular viewers of the extremely loose late-night talk show Chelsea Lately know Fortune Feimster very well. She’s the brash, plus-size, go-to lesbian comic on staff who can play both Honey Boo Boo and Honey Boo Boo’s mother and who regularly engages in whatever frank sexual discussions Handler initiates with the rotating comic panel. And ABC has taken notice of this dynamic, greenlighting a half-hour sitcom written, produced and starring Feimster and co-executive produced by Handler. It’s called Discounted and it’s a rural, blue-collar comedy about two sisters (Feimster will play one of them) trying to keep their Charlotte, North Carolina furniture store open in the face of overwhelming competition from an IKEA-like chain of cheap imports. As with all pilots, it’ll have to jump through every weird hoop the network decides to put up as obstacles, but if the TV-viewing world is lucky, there’ll soon be a primetime successor to Roseanne, one that doesn’t have to import any lesbians for its storylines.

Gay documentary round-up: Divine at the Continental

Jeffrey Schwarz, the documentary filmmaker whose most recent movie, the highly acclaimed Vito (about the life of The Celluloid Closet’s groundbreaking film writer and historian, Vito Russo) received a coveted HBO premiere, is hard at work on his next film. Shining deserved light on another gay icon, Glenn Milstead, aka Divine, I Am Divine will pay loving tribute to the equally groundbreaking film star, a man who did for insane drag what his close friend, director John Waters, did for insane cinema. The film will feature interviews with Waters, Ricki Lake, Bruce Vilanch, Tab Hunter, Mink Stole and Holly Woodlawn and is currently in post-production.

Meanwhile, Continental, the latest from documentary filmmaker Malcolm Ingram (Small Town Gay Bar) will explore the heyday of New York City’s famed Continental Baths. A gay bathhouse that became a non-gay entertainment venue as it launched the musical careers of Bette Midler and Barry Manilow, drawing crowds of celebrities and regular gay guys in towels looking for anonymous sex, Continental is sure to open younger gay eyes to the subculture of 1970s hedonism in the same way that Paris is Burning brought the world of late 1980s drag balls to moviegoers’ attention. Be on the lookout for both films to turn up at festivals sometime in 2013.

From Dreamgirls to Twilight to… Wikileaks?

Gay filmmaker Bill Condon translated his slowly growing career success directing movies like God and Monsters and Kinsey into a spot helming the big-budget Dreamgirls and, finally, both parts of the global smash franchise The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. What this means now is that he can do pretty much whatever he wants, so he’s going to tackle an entirely different sort of challenge: Wikileaks and the fate of its head whistleblower in charge, Julian Assange. You may remember that Assange started the website as a source for leaked diplomatic cables and messages in order to expose corruption in world governments, a job for which he received few thank-you notes. Negotiations are currently underway to cast James McAvoy opposite Benedict Cumbatch (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), who’ll play the embattled Assange, a man still facing prosecution by the United States. And if McAvoy signs on he’ll star as Daniel Domscheit-Berg, whose book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website will serve as one screenplay source for the DreamWorks project. No timeline is set for this one just yet, but it’s going to have to wait until Condon is finished promoting those sparkly vampires all over the globe. Think 2014.

*Romeo San Vicente could leak all sorts of information, but it would only embarrass some A-list male celebrities whose hearts he broke back in the day. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.