Deep Inside Hollywood
Romeo San Vicente | July 19, 2004
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.
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.
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
Jude Law Visits Brideshead