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Romeo San Vicente | January 24, 2005

Jonathan Rhys Meyers - � 2003 Fox Searchlight Pictures Jonathan Rhys Meyers Goes from Velvet to Elvis

He was a bisexual David Bowie-esque creature in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine, and now Jonathan Rhys Meyers will get his chance to be an Elvis impersonator. The Irish actor, who's also co-starred in crowd-pleasers such as Bend It Like Beckham and flops like Alexander, has started shooting the TV miniseries Elvis in New Orleans with a cast that includes Camryn Manheim as Presley's beloved mother Gladys, Randy Quaid as Col. Tom Parker, and Rose McGowan as Ann-Margret. Gay production duo Robert Greenblatt and David Janollari (Six Feet Under) are on board to run the project, one that saw nearly 500 would-be Kings audition before the pouty-lipped U.K. import was chosen. And given Rhys Meyers' lithe frame, Romeo assumes the series will cover more of Presley's hip-swiveling years and less of his pantsuit-and-giant-gold-belt era. But then again, they can do a lot with prosthetic makeup these days.



Alyson Hannigan Hannigan's Back In the Game

Devoted lesbian Buffy-heads – among whom Romeo counts himself an honorary member – have been waiting for Alyson Hannigan's return to TV for some time now. And for a while reports were surfacing that the former Willow would have her own sitcom, a la Mary Tyler Moore. Now she does. Sort of. The actor has joined the cast of ABC's midseason sitcom In the Game, which stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as the CEO of an ESPN-like cable sports network. Hannigan will play Hewitt's childhood best friend, who quits law school to become her pal's assistant. Married with Children star Ed O'Neill takes on the role of Hewitt's father, a Monday Night Football producer who goes to work with his daughter. Meanwhile, Hannigan won't merely be playing Rhoda to Hewitt's Mary – producers are stressing the fact that she'll have storylines of her own. Now Romeo's game.



Michael Cunningham Cunningham Sells His Specimen

Ghosts? Terrorists? Aliens? Has The Hours novelist Michael Cunningham been taking lessons from Stephen King? Readers will find out in May when the Pulitzer Prize winner's new book, Specimen Days, hits bookstore shelves. A trilogy of stories, Specimen will feature an Industrial Revolution-era ghost story, a modern thriller about a suicide bomber, and a futuristic tale of extraterrestrial refugees flooding into Manhattan. And the connecting presence in these three tales? Walt Whitman, of course – call him this novel's Virginia Woolf. Meanwhile, nonreaders will have a slightly longer wait for the film version, the rights to which have just been purchased, prepublication, by gay producer Scott Rudin. This collaboration is Rudin and Cunningham's second, following The Hours; and if the movie ends up half as strange and intriguing as the book, Romeo will be first in line.



Tyra Banks Tyra Banking on Talk Show She created and hosts the gayest show on television – what else but UPN's America's Next Top Model? But that was only the beginning for Victoria's Secret model-turned-media-mogul Tyra Banks. Now she wants to be inside your home every weekday. Warner Bros. Domestic TV is excited about this prospect, too, and has just started selling Banks' new five-a-week syndicated talk show, the eponymous Tyra Banks Show, to regional outlets. So far Denver, San Diego, Spokane, and Portland, Ore., are committed, and deals are being negotiated with Disney, Viacom, and Tribune Broadcasting. If all goes as planned, Banks will soon go head-to-head with Oprah and Ellen. Hope she has better luck with ratings than Tony Danza. Or Jane Pauley. Or Tempest Bledsoe. Or Dr. Laura. Or [fill in the blank].

  • Romeo San Vicente thinks it would be cool if Nicole Kidman were nontraditionally cast as Walt Whitman.


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