Deep Inside Hollywood

Jim Parsons-produced ‘Special’ really will be special

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Now that The Big Bang Theory is winding down its run, Jim Parsons is expanding his reach in the mogul business. After jump-starting Young Sheldon, he has turned his attention to a sitcom first. It’s called Special and it actually is such.

Based on the book I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves by Ryan O’Connell, a gay man with cerebral palsy who has also worked as an executive story editor on Will & Grace, the upcoming Netflix series will star O’Connell as a fictionalized version of himself. The plot revolves around O’Connell rewriting his identity in order to get the life he wants and live well with the body in which he was born.

O’Connell will not only star, but write and produce the series, too. And it will be the first time a queer person with a physical disability has headlined a sitcom. Look for it to drop on Netflix April 19.

American Horror Story lands Gus

Ryan Murphy is gearing up for another season of AHS – its ninth, for the record, and there are no plot details yet – and he has cast Olympian Gus Kenworthy in a major role, playing the boyfriend of Emma Roberts, the only other actor announced in the cast to date.

This is not especially shocking news as Murphy is as skilled at stocking his casts with exceptionally handsome men as he is at keeping alive the screen presences of his favorite mid-and-late-career leading ladies. We begrudge him none of his choices on that front.

We’re just going to assume that Kenworthy is a naturally charismatic actor, because so far his limited resume highlights are an episode of The Real O’Neals and a cameo in Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. No shade there, either, though; everyone has to start somewhere after they win medals in the Olympics. We are officially rooting for Gus, and also possibly Jessica Lange and/or Stevie Nicks.

Queer cinema’s hopes are now pinned on Billy Eichner

No pressure, but it would appear that gay viability in mainstream Hollywood filmmaking is now riding on Billy Eichner’s shoulders. His next project: to write and star in a Judd Apatow-produced, gay-themed romantic comedy for Universal.

Nick Stoller (Neighbors, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) will direct the film that currently has no plot details up for inspection, but here’s what’s at stake: nothing less than studio support for LGBTQ+ content in mainstream cinema. If you can believe it, it’s the first major studio film with a queer plot and a queer leading character since Love, Simon, and the first of its kind pitched at an adult audience since 1997’s, coming out comedy In & Out.

Not that we’ve gone without all these years. Queer indie cinema hasn’t stopped cranking out the rom-coms and every other genre of movie; and, TV has turned into the place for characters of all genders and races (the studios seemingly only have eyes for gay white men) but this is where the big studios are, and it would be great if Eichner and Apatow knocked this one out of the park so that more – and more diverse – stories get their shot.

Rock Paper Dead is a horror movie we want to see right now

The horror pedigree on this one is a meeting of legends. Tom Holland (the filmmaker, not young Mr. Spider-man), who gave us Child’s Play and Fright Night, is working on a new scary movie called Rock Paper Dead (we really love the blunt instrument qualities of that title) and it’s co-written by Victor Miller (Friday the 13th) and Kerry Fleming.

But what’s queer about it? Well, it stars gay actor Luke Macfarlane (Brothers and Sisters, and all those Hallmark Christmas movies, including the one where he has to fall in love with annoying right-winger Candace Cameron Bure) as a man released from a hospital for “the criminally insane” who goes home to what seems to be a haunted house. And then there are murders, naturally.

Bonus casting: Tatum O’Neal and Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormick, as we don’t even care what – we’re just thrilled to see their names on the IMDB page, and we hope they both do some evil deeds.

Romeo San Vicente’s last fright night involved running out of ice cream and it was a harrowing experience.

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