Deep Inside Hollywood

Noah’s Arc, Billie Jean King, J.A. Bayona, Elle Fanning,

From Zero to I Love You reunites Noah’s Arc cast

Do you miss Noah’s Arc? You probably do. Because, frankly, it’s not like anyone in the world of basic cable was lining up to make television programs about the lives of gay black men before it arrived. And furthermore, how many have there been since? Exactly.

So when former Arc-er Doug Spearman directed his first feature, the LGBT film festival favorite Hot Guys with Guns, it gave us hope for more to come. Well, now something new is coming. Spearman’s latest directorial effort, From Zero to I Love You, will tell the story of a gay man (played by Noah’s Arc alum Darryl Stephens) who rejects his friends’ and family’s effort to set him up with Mr. Right, all because he can’t resist the thrill of chasing heterosexual men – the kind with wives. Yes, yes, yes, the gay shame of it all, but still a fascinating idea for a story in a world where gay culture is beating the drum for everybody settling down and getting adorably married. Why not a romance about wanting, and possibly getting, the one you can’t have? More on this one as it slowly winds its way to release.

How many Billie Jean King movies, again?

This is how it goes in Hollywood: a good idea spawns copycat ideas. Sometimes, these good ideas become competing projects rushing to beat each other into theaters or on to television. It’s why there were two Truman Capote movies, why another Jungle Book movie is coming soon, and why there are (or were, depending on how much you trust the expression “in development”) three movies about the legendary 1973 tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King. We’ll skip the two that may or may not be actually happening now – that would be the one with Will Ferrell attached as Riggs, and the one with Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Banks, neither of which have been making much noise of late – and focus on the one that’s actually shooting. That would be Battle of the Sexes, which stars Emma Stone as King, Steve Carell as Riggs, and comes from the creative team of screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), and co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine). The period comedy has a newsworthy supporting cast, too, with Elisabeth Shue, Alan Cumming and Sarah Silverman rounding out the ’70s vibe. May it remind everyone who watches it how truly resistant American culture was to the mainstreaming of feminism, and how much more work there is to be done.

Jurassic World sequel gets J.A. Bayona

The Jurassic Park franchise, resurrected in form and money-minting function last summer, has its next director, and his name is J.A. Bayona. No worries if you’ve never heard of him. He’s the gay, Spanish filmmaker responsible for the tsunami drama The Impossible and the thriller The Orphanage. Assuming that the disaster-effects-heavy Impossible was sufficient-enough calling card to take on the disaster-effects-heavy world of carnivorous dinosaurs, he’ll be stepping in for the departing Colin Trevorrow. Why, you may ask, is former indie director Trevorrow not returning to the money-minting franchise? Well, he’s going to be busy with a new Star Wars installment, that’s why. Cast members Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are scheduled to return – with salary hikes, it’s assumed, considering the first one pulled in $1.7 billion worldwide – and the film’s tentative release date is 2018. So, for those of you keeping score, the new paradigm is that you can be gay and get hired to direct a chapter in a blockbuster franchise. Now let’s see how long it takes for someone to hire a woman to make one.

Elle Fanning and Jena Malone do the love scene thing in Neon Demon

Elle Fanning is an adult now. And the first thing young actors usually do when they turn 18 is run directly to those grown-up roles. Ms. Fanning also happens to be well-regarded in her chosen profession, so it’s no surprise that for one of her first post-childhood projects, she landed herself in the latest movie from acclaimed Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive). It’s called The Neon Demon, and it’s soon to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It co-stars Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves and Jena Malone (with whom Fanning has a lesbian love scene). A stylized horror film of sorts, the plot seems to involve a young woman with aspirations to becoming a model, only to find herself surrounded by people who want to devour her youth and beauty like a pack of vampires. In other words, it’s a story about the day-in-day-out world of the entertainment industry.  The art-minded thriller opens in general release in June, just in time for its star to consider living arrangements for her first semester in college. Suggestion, speaking of horror: not the dorms.

Romeo San Vicente almost always gets the one he’s been told he can’t have. So there. He can be reached care of this publication or at [email protected]