Call Regina King ‘Shirley’
Academy Award winner Regina King is the latest actor to take up the role of legendary Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for president, and whose career prioritized advocating tirelessly for the poor, for working class people, for people of color, for women, and for the LGBTQ+ community. She was a forthright ally when it was often political suicide to be one. If you watched the limited series “Mrs. America,” you saw Uzo Aduba deliver an indelible performance as Chisholm, and you might remember a news item from a few years ago that announced Viola Davis taking on the part herself. Fast forward to 2021, with two separate films about Chisholm in the works at the same time. The Viola Davis project, still in development as “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm,” has passed to Danai Gurira (“Black Panther”). And now “Shirley,” from writer-director John Ridley, will star King and a cast that includes Lance Reddick (“John Wick”), Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased”), André Holland (“Passing”) and Terrence Howard (“Empire”). Look, they made two movies about Truman Capote and the Lambada dance, so we’ll take two Shirleys any day.
Aubrey Plaza talks ‘Happiest Season’ sequel
If you saw last year’s lesbian Christmas rom-com “Happiest Season” (you did) and you loved it (ehhh… maybe) and wanted more from Aubrey Plaza’s extremely cool character “Riley” (you super really totally did), then here’s a bit of news that is officially not official: there might be a sequel. The reason it’s unofficial is because it comes from a TikTok video taken in a bookstore where Plaza was signing copies of her children’s book “The Legend of The Christmas Witch.” In the video Plaza speaks freely (Openly wishing? Assigning her own production green light? Casting an occult spell?) about how there’s going to be a sequel and how it’s because her character deserves some love. Riley does indeed need more screen time and lady-affection and we clamor for that sequel. So for now we’re going to run with this and assume Plaza is to be taken more seriously than any single moment when she’s been interviewed on anyone’s talk show and delivering every answer with a wink. Please, Christmas Witch, come through.
Jennifer Coolidge in everything now, please
Jennifer Coolidge had a very good 2021. She was simultaneously sympathetic and villainous in “The White Lotus,” disgruntled and bitter in the under-appreciated indie “Swan Song” with Udo Kier. And in Netflix’s “Single All the Way,” she was the comedy MVP of a queer Christmas rom-com, shouting at children in a holiday pageant called “Jesus H. Christ,” and delivering an already immortal bit of dialogue: “[The gays] are always obsessed with me.” She’s right. We are. And we’re trying to be patient with the development process of her upcoming project, “Legally Blonde 3,” where she’ll revive the role of Paulette. In a recent interview, Reese Witherspoon deflected in the direction of screenwriter Mindy Kaling as the real person to ask the big “WHEN” question, meaning that Kaling is hard at work making a script happen and everybody relax. (We’ll try.) In the meantime look for Coolidge in 2022 in queer director Christopher Landon’s comedy, “We Have a Ghost” with David Harbour, Anthony Mackie and Tig Notaro.
The ‘BROS’ cast just keeps growing
They weren’t kidding. The upcoming gay romantic comedy “BROS” starring Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane made noise a couple months ago about casting LOTS of queer actors in all roles. And they’ve made good on that. Joining a supporting cast that already includes “Scandal” star Guillermo Diaz, Symone from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Ts Madison (“Zola”), Miss Lawrence (“Star”) and stand-up comic Guy Branum (“Q-Force”), the call sheet has fully expanded with news of queer actors Monica Raymund (“Chicago Fire”), Peter Kim (“The 40 Year-Old Version”) and Benito Skinner (the upcoming “Queer as Folk” reboot) on board alongside “SNL” star Bowen Yang, trans actors Becca Blackwell (“Sort Of”) and Eve Lindley (“Dispatches from Elsewhere”), “Glee” star Dot Marie Jones, Oscar-winning screenwriter/actor Jim Rash (“American Housewife”), legendary lesbian Amanda Bearse (“Married with Children”) and the queerest elder queer of all time, Harvey Fierstein. That’s how you do some representation and why isn’t this movie already in front of our eyes?
Romeo San Vicente has once again asked Santa Baby for a deed to a platinum mine.
Photo by Carla Van Wagoner