Steven, take a bow
In news marked “It Was Only a Matter of Time,” get ready for Steven, the biopic about England’s most quotable rock star, Morrissey. Did that time come too soon, do you think? Is he not yet old enough or legendary enough for his own biopic? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong; the man’s 30-plus-year career began with his leading of the UK’s most influential ’80s band, The Smiths (probably even more popular today than in 1985) and has thrived over time with a refusal to retreat from the solo limelight ever since. Furthermore, his mark on queer culture is probably more indelible than even his openly gay musical peers (Morrissey has never fully sexually identified himself, because he’s Morrissey). Shooting now, the film is being directed by Mark Gill, a relative newcomer riding a wave of success after his short film Oscar and BAFTA nominations. British TV fixture Jodie Comer co-stars, as does Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay, and in the title role, Scottish up-and-comer Jack Lowden (War & Peace) will play the man who sang “Meat is Murder.” It looks to be a 2017 release, so stretch out and wait.
Another Hit for Ryan Murphy and Gwyneth Paltrow
All this silly animosity for Gwyneth Paltrow–you’d think she was running for President on a platform of racism and ignorance. But no, that’s some guy people seem to love. Paltrow’s crimes are, apparently, worse: expensive smoothies and spa treatments, publishing cool cookbooks, and being an Academy Award-winning actor. So we would like to invite all of you to get over yourselves for long enough to remember her hilarious turn as the kooky substitute teacher on Ryan Murphy’s Glee. And now that you’ve done that, enjoy this news: she’s re-teaming with Murphy for another music-centric TV project, One Hit Wonders. Still in the early stages, Paltrow will get to twirl on her haters as a washed-up, forgotten, ’90s singer who had a single popular song. Broke and aimless, she finds herself re-teamed with other ’90s has-beens to form a supergroup. Call it The Comeback with pop songs and an actress who can actually sing and pull it off. And honestly, the entire scenario sounds like a really good idea. Somebody call JJ Fad and make something happen.
Bret Easton Ellis gets Deleted
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) is an author, a screenwriter, a controversial Tweeter, a podcaster, and now, at long last, a director. He’s teaming up with Fullscreen, a successful streaming content producer, to launch the online series The Deleted. Based on an original screenplay–as opposed to other Ellis-based films that have been either based on his novels or were screenplays he wrote for other directors such as Paul Schrader (The Canyons)–The Deleted is a thriller concerning the disappearance of seemingly unrelated people in Los Angeles. These random “deletions” trigger a mysterious sort of group paranoia among a collection of twentysomething cult survivors. All of it feels very “Disappear Here,” which is a recurring line in Ellis’ debut novel, Less Than Zero, and from our perspective, that’s something to get excited about. Now, will Patrick Bateman be making a cameo, breezily passing through the background? Let’s hope.
Asian women in the spotlight: Quentin Lee’s The Unbidden
In a filmmaking universe that involves digital tech tests that would allow CGI employees to make Scarlett Johansson look vaguely Asian for Ghost in The Shell (yes, we’re still shaking our head over every bit of that, and will continue to do so, thanks), it’s nice to see a little good news come along. And that’s The Unbidden, directed by queer filmmaker Quentin Lee (White Frog, The People I’ve Slept With), which recently premiered at Los Angeles’ Asian Pacific Film Festival and has just been picked up for distribution by Viva Pictures. It’s being called the first all-female Asian American supernatural thriller, one that involves ghosts, demons, hauntings, and a dinner party, and it stars the following underrated character actresses: Tamlyn Tomita (The Joy Luck Club), Julia Nickson (Rambo), Amy Hill (Lilo & Stitch), Elizabeth Sung (The Joy Luck Club) and Michelle Krusiec (The Invitation). Set a Google alert or whatever it is you do to keep yourself reminded. When this sort of thing comes along, it deserves support. Otherwise, progress takes a back seat to complaints when it should be enjoying popcorn instead.
Romeo San Vicente is the Light that Never Goes Out. He can be reached in care of this publication.