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Deep Inside Hollywood


Romeo San Vicente | May 04, 2004

Halle Berry Is Watching God

Fans of Zora Neale Hurston, writer and folklorist of the very queer Harlem Renaissance, have Oprah Winfrey to thank for this one: the talk-show mogul (along with Quincy Jones) is executive-producing a TV movie version of Hurston's most famous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, for ABC. The film will star Academy Award winner Halle Berry, with a script written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog, Underdog). In this adaptation of the 1937 book, Berry will play Janie Crawford, a woman whose multiple marriages and free-spirited approach to living makes her more than a few enemies in 1920s small-town Florida. Ruby Dee will appear as Janie's grandmother. The film is in production in Los Angeles and will air sometime during the 2004-2005 season.



Here! Is Almost Here

At long last, here's the queer cable channel Romeo's been craving. Here! TV, the pay-per-view service for gay and lesbian programming, is launching a 24-hour cable channel on Oct. 1, which will feature classic homo programming and original movies and series. Even better is how much the lineup sounds like it was made in a nutty gay professor's lab. A brief rundown: Deadly Skies, an action film involving a colonel discharged because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, who turns around and saves the world from an asteroid; Dante's Cove, a queer goth thriller series already filming in the Caribbean; Weapons of Mass Destruction, starring B-movie kung-fu queen Cynthia Rothrock as a lesbian spy/action hero; and even a Christmas movie, Too Cool for Christmas, about a teenage girl, her two dads, and the second gayest holiday after Halloween. Make sure to have lots of microwave popcorn on hand come fall.




Mitchell and Van Sant Get Behind Tarnation

Even if your movie only cost $218.32 to make, someone's got to get money together to make prints, posters, and press kits, and to buy the gas so you can trot it around to film festivals. That's what Jonathan Caouette found out when he made Tarnation for that very amount. He used Apple's iMovie software to create his autobiographical documentary, a film detailing his own coming-out process against the backdrop of his mother's schizophrenia. Then Gus Van Sant and John Cameron Mitchell came on board as executive producers, and the movie earned a spot at this year's Sundance Film Festival, screening to positive reviews. Now independent distributor Wellspring has bought the rights to the film and will give it that last cash push to bring it to theaters later this year. See? Even downbeat documentaries can have happy endings.




Return - Again - To The Blue Lagoon

The WB is doggy-paddling back to The Blue Lagoon. The original 1949 British film about shipwrecked teens who fall in love was notoriously remade in 1980 with Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. Now another remake of Lagoon is in production and set to air on TV next season; it's being produced by the seemingly tireless gay duo of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Just don't expect another hot, wet, softcore romp in the jungle like last time. This is post-Janet's-breast television, after all, and the producers are emphasizing the adventure and romance aspects of the story. Think Castaway instead of, well, instead of Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. Free casting idea from Romeo to the WB: make room for cameos from the cute 1980s couple. Please?

Romeo San Vicente spent 1980 in a Christopher Atkins-fueled fantasy haze.


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