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Deep Inside Hollywood


Romeo San Vicente | July 19, 2004

� 2003 New Line Ian McKellen Never Was

After starring in hugely successful Hollywood franchises like the Lord of the Rings and X-Men movies, an actor might be tempted to retire to a sunny Mediterranean villa and never answer the phone again. But Ian McKellen just keeps working. He's currently in talks to co-star in an independent film called Never Was, joining Aaron Eckhart, Brittany Murphy, and Nick Nolte. Eckhart plays an employee in a mental hospital where his late, novelist father (Nolte) was a patient, who then meets a schizophrenic (McKellen) with information about Nolte's mysterious final years. If all goes as planned, this will be McKellen's second film in a row to be set in a mental institution (he also appears in the forthcoming Asylum). Of course, he starred as a wizard in three consecutive films, so this is small potatoes by comparison. More importantly, the movie – slated to shoot in September – will be notable for returning McKellen to the world of acting in front of something other than a special-effects-ready blue screen.




Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Lilo Director Sees Ghosts

Dean DeBlois, the gay half of the directing team responsible for the hit Disney feature Lilo & Stitch, is leaving Toon Town, if only temporarily. It's got nothing to do with the fact that Lilo's gorgeous 2-D, noncomputerized animation is currently passe in Hollywood. It does, however, have everything to do with DeBlois' decision to make his second feature one that will employ live actors. The Banshee, written by DeBlois (who will also produce, along with gay duo Craig Zadan and Neil Meron), is a period piece about a lonely Irish boy who pretends to be a ghost, only to meet and befriend a real one. No cast attached yet, but production begins in chilly Ireland in spring of 2005. And if Banshee features the same warm sensibility that made DeBlois' animated feature so quickly beloved, it should be one cuddly ghost story.




From Hours to Evening

Michael Cunningham has officially gone Hollywood. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours is now a sought-after screenwriter, thanks to his recent adaptation of his earlier novel, A Home at the End of the World. His latest script is an adaptation of Susan Minot's acclaimed novel Evening, co-written with Minot and expected to begin shooting late this summer. The story of 65-year-old woman with terminal cancer whose children come home to help her through the final days of her life, Evening will be directed by Tony Goldwyn. Minot and Cunningham are also playing the roles of executive producers, in both novelists' first outings as movie moguls. The film hasn't been cast yet, but expect the usual batch of Oscar nominees to clamor for a shot at this probably prestige picture.




Jim Verraros photo - Coral Von Zumwalt Eating Out with an American Idol

Filmmaker Q. Allan Brocka is smiling right now. The director, responsible for the scathingly funny Lego-animation shorts Rick & Steve The Happiest Gay Couple in All The World, recently won the Levi's First Feature award for his debut feature Eating Out
. Currently making the gay and lesbian film-festival rounds, the low-budget indie comedy concerns a straight college guy who decides that in order to win the heart of the girl he loves, he has to go through her gay best friend (played by former American Idol finalist Jim Verraros). The award should call deserved attention to the talented writer/director and hopefully hook up some theatrical distribution. When that happens, look for it to eventually land on arthouse marquees.

Romeo San Vicente has himself met a lot of open-minded straight men through their girlfriends.


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